Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nap time everyone, and that includes Henry and White Dog

These days Isabella oftentimes protests nap-time, because she has so much to see, do, and learn. I am going to hold on to that nap time as long as I can, because sleep is crucial to healthy development. Anyways, so that a screaming match doesn't ensue, I tell her Victoria, Henry, White Dog (the Christmas TY dog Grandma gave her one Christmas), and she need to take a nap. Makes her feel better that she isn't the only one that has to sleep.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Isabella's first time peeing on the potty


Isabella willingly sat on the potty and peed, for the first time ever! She went after breakfast.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Isabella's 2-year and Victoria's 4 month wellness checks

Isabella had her 2-year wellness check and Victoria had her 4 month wellness check today. All I can say is that I am glad Troy was with me. He seemed to not have all that much sympathy for the possibility of my having to take the girls alone to the doctors' office (there are multiple doctors at Littleton Pediatrics). He hasn't been to the pediatrician's office for at least 3/4 of a year up to this point, so he hasn't seen Isabella's serious melt downs at the doctor's office. In fact, the melt down would start as soon as Isabella was weighed.

Having two screaming babies, especially one that wants to be comforted with breastfeeding, with one wanting to run all over the place, would be no easy task for me.

Here are some of the stats.:

Isabella -
height: 33''
weight: 28 lbs.
head circumference: 21"

Victoria -
height: 25 1/4"
weight: 14 lbs.
head: 17 1/4

Some fun facts. Isabella's head is off the charts. We assured the pediatrician it is completely hereditary. Her head was examined in utero. She's seen a pediatric neurologist twice. Nothing to write home about. Victoria's is fast approaching that direction as well. Her head is in the 98%. It used to be in the 70s.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Eating is so very important, for you and the family

This morning, I was reading Parenting magazine while on the John; had some momentary, usual peace and quiet. Read a bit about moms and what makes them tired and eating. Seriously folks, next to getting enough sleep (like how is that possible as a primary care-taker, especially a new parent, right?), eating well ranks high on the importance scale. Remember the old mantra that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, that still rings true. Snacking off of whatever the baby is eating doesn't count as a legitimate meal. If short on time, eat things that are low maintenance in preparation but high in protein and other nutrients. Some candidates might include: yogurt, multigrain cereal with milk or soy, fruit, health bars, mixed nuts (although I am not at all crazy about this last option since I ate so much of it during my first pregnancy). Your babies, your children, will thank you (even if they can't speak, yet) for taking care of yourself, because there will be more of you to take care of them. You won't be falling down dead because you haven't consumed enough calories to keep you going. Perhaps you can collapse from other things, like picking up Cheerios for the umteenth time, changing and washing everything because the baby has peed or spit up all over the place.

So, my two bits of wisdom for a healthy start for parents is this:

1. Sleep as much as you can - those tasks that seem ever important to do? Think of it this way, children don't get up when you want them to get up. If they may potentially rise early, get to bed early. No ifs, ands, or buts. Listen, especially new moms, studies have shown that getting that extra sleep helps kick the baby weight. Seriously.

2. Eat well. Don't skip meals, especially breakfast and lunch, no matter how busy you are. For breakfast, I eat stuff I don't need to cook (yogurt and sometimes leftovers . . . hey, I have a pretty big appetite). Cook in larger quantities, so you don't have to cook every single meal. If anyone protests eating leftovers, they are free to volunteer to cook. Do what you have to make time to eat and sleep.

As a final word of exhortation, remember that tomorrow is always a new day with a fresh start. If the day is too overwhelming to even think about the next day, think about going out, even for a brief bit. After being cooped up in the house all day, sometimes a breath of fresh air can do a world of good. During the day, I am carless, since my husband and I share a car. No matter the hassle in getting two tots that are under the age of 2, I end up feeling much better after the adventure outdoors. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I had made a mountain out of a mole hill

We've been using BumGenius cloth diapers for a week and a half or so now, and it's so much easier than I had imagined. How the parts fit together is rather simple. Put the insert inside the reusable diaper. Not bad at all.

One word to the wise is to make sure diaper changes are as frequent as with disposable diapers. Wet diapers can be a bit harder to tell with cloth diapers.

Caring instructions. Also not a big deal. Some people take the diapers through two washing cycles, once cold with detergent and once warm or hot without detergent (for disinfecting purposes). Personally, I use only one washing cycle (warm) but a second rinsing cycle. After reading multiple reviews for different brand cloth diapers, inevitably at least a few people complained about the elastic getting looser after a few months when the diapers should be lasting much longer. The dryer is powerful and furious; of course the diapers probably won't last as long when dried in the dryer. Instead, I line dry both the reusable diapers and the inserts. The reusable diapers dry quite quickly (perhaps a couple of hours). Why do I line dry the inserts? Well, you know the lint catcher in the dryer? Well, the lint it collects is from the clothing or whatever has been dried. To keep the inserts as thick as possible (and prevent the dryer from pulling lint from the inserts) and as absorbent as possible, I air dry them. Here, in the Denver area, indoors, they take about 8 to 12 hours to fully dry.

One caveat. For stool diapers, I think using cloth diapers hasn't been a big deal because I had the fabulous diaper sprayer for assistance.

So far, I am so glad we invested in cloth diapers. Will give you another update in a few months to let you know if I still feel the same and to let you know the condition of the diapers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Whew, both girls are asleep

Both girls seem to spend no small amount of time fighting sleep these days, day or night. Isabella is more interested in engaging in the world around her than sleeping. I remember being like that in preschool. Victoria, well, I don't have any clue as to why she's already fighting sleep, at such a young age.

Finally, at 1:30 pm, both girls fell asleep.

Isabella pooped, talked, stood, and sat in her crib, before finally going to sleep.

I recreationally nursed Victoria (she was not nursing out of hunger) and laid her down awake. She gave a whimper of a cry for about ten minutes before drifting off to sleep.

Isabella slept for nearly two hours. After about an hour, Victoria cried for a bit. Then, another fifteen minutes she whimpered some more. She is still asleep two and a half hours later, thankfully. For whatever reason, maybe because she is sleeping nine continuous hours at night (give or take a couple of hours), she is sleeping roughly two naps during the day now.

I am so thankful I had two girls sleeping at the same time this afternoon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Holding her head up high

This little girl is so amazing. She holds her head up like it is no big deal. Haven't taken the tummy time mat out in some time, because she apparently doesn't need it for motivation.

Isabella is amazing too. We love her just as much as Victoria. Oh, and by the way, when I was pregnant with Victoria, I wondered how in the world I could love another baby as much as I love Isabella. It's not only possible, it is very real. We love both of our babies so much, words cannot capture the love.



Look at that wavy hair. Look at that wavy hair! Wasn't sure Victoria was going to have wavy hair when she was first born, but I was wrong!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

First time cleaning off poop on the cloth diapers

I have been putting off putting a cloth diaper on Isabella when I have anticipated her pooping in the next few hours. With the encouragement of my husband and his reminder that we are giving cloth diapers a serious effort, we need to put a cloth diaper on her whether or not she is going to poop. Usually after breakfast some time, she does her business. Sure enough she did this morning, before Troy headed off to work, mercifully.

Wasn't all that bad. I really think the cloth diaper was gentler on her bum. Most of the stuff went right into the toilet. For the rest, the diaper sprayer we purchased worked great. I pulled the insert out (which was a little stained), and sprayed the residual stuff into the toilet, and voila!

One note: Isabella has leaked out of diaper when peeing, but some friends have told me that however counterintuitive this is, the diapers tend to become more absorbent after they are washed. One more note: I do not plan on throwing the diapers themselves into the dryer, as that will likely shorten their lifespan with the violent thrusting around in the dryer. I plan on line drying them.

So far so good. I'm liking cloth diapers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Isabella sporting her new cloth diapers

We've had these cloth diapers for about a week now, but I put it on Isabella for the first time, this morning. Waited until she did number two before doing so. My wonderful hubby has installed the diaper flusher (or what ever it is called), the thing that helps get the poop off the diaper. Here we are:



Victoria is 4 months old today

Victoria is four months old today. We moved to the Denver area when she had just turned two months old.




Monday, September 15, 2008

Have you ever seen a baby that is not cute?

Me neither.


Terrible Two-year-old Tantrums

I can definitely resonate with the content of the following article, ranging from a toddler to pitching a fit, to recognizing her attempt to identify with a world she's trying to understand, to coping with such tantrums. I am very confident that our daughters will be well behaved in the long-run. We simply need to guide them and show them effective ways of communicating their desires and needs.

Parent Center's Tantrums: Why they happen and what to do about them

Tantrums: Why they happen and what to do about them

by Bonnie Monte

Why 2-year-olds throw tantrums

A temper tantrum is the emotional equivalent of a summer storm — sudden and sometimes fierce, but often over as quickly as it starts. One minute you and your child are enjoying your dinner in a restaurant, the next she's whimpering, whining, and then screaming to go home. Two-year-olds are especially prone to such episodes.

Though you may worry that you're raising a tyrant, take heart — at this age, it's unlikely that your child is throwing a fit to be manipulative. More likely, she's having a meltdown in response to frustration. Often, your 2-year-old's language skills — or lack thereof — are to blame. "Two-year-olds are beginning to understand more and more of the words they hear, yet their ability to articulate their feelings and needs is limited," says Claire B. Kopp, professor of applied developmental psychology at California's Claremont Graduate University. As a result, frustration builds when your child can't express how she feels.

What to do when your 2-year-old pitches a fit

Don't lose your cool. A tantrum isn't a pretty sight. In addition to kicking, screaming, or pounding the floor, your child's repertoire may include throwing things, hitting, and even holding her breath until she turns blue (don't worry; she'll eventually come up for air). When your child is swept up in a tantrum, she's unable to listen to reason, though she will respond — negatively — to your yelling or threatening. "The more I shouted at Brandon to stop, the wilder he would get," says one mother. What worked instead, she discovered, was to just sit down and be with him while he raged.

Stomping out of the room — tempting as that may be — can make your child feel abandoned. The storm of emotion she's feeling can be frightening to her, and she needs to know you're nearby. Rather than leave her thrashing on the floor, go to her. If she's not flailing too much, pick her up and hold her. Chances are she'll find your embrace comforting, and will calm down more quickly.

Remember that you're the adult. No matter how long the tantrum goes on, don't give in to unreasonable demands or negotiate with your screaming child. It's especially tempting in public to cave in as a way of ending the episode. Try not to worry about what others think — anyone who's a parent has been there before. By conceding, you'll only be teaching your child that pitching a fit is the way to get what she wants, and setting the stage for future behavior problems. What's more, a tantrum is frightening enough for your child without her feeling that you're not in control, either.

If your 2-year-old's outburst escalates to the point where she's hitting people or pets, throwing things, or screaming nonstop, pick her up and carry her to a safe place, such as her bedroom, where she can't harm herself. Tell her why she's there ("because you hit your sister"), and let her know that you'll stay with her until she calms down. If you're in a public place — a common breeding ground for tantrums — be prepared to leave with your child until she gets a grip.

"My daughter had an absolute fit at a restaurant because the plain spaghetti she ordered arrived with chopped parsley on it," another mother recalls. "Although I realized why she was upset, I wasn't about to let her disrupt everyone's dinner. I took her outside until she calmed down."

Talk it over afterward. When the storm subsides, hold your child close and talk about what happened. Acknowledge her frustration, and help her put her feelings into words, saying something like, "You were very angry because your food wasn't the way you wanted it," Kopp suggests. Let her see that once she expresses herself in words, she'll get better results. Say with a smile, "I'm sorry I didn't understand you. Now that you're not screaming, I can find out what you want."

Try to head off tantrum-triggering situations. Pay attention to what pushes your child's buttons and plan accordingly. If she falls apart when she's hungry, carry snacks with you. If she has trouble making a transition from one activity to the next, give her a gentle heads-up before a change. Alerting her to the fact that you're about to leave the playground or sit down to dinner ("We're going to eat when you and Daddy are done with your story") gives her a chance to adjust instead of react.

Your child is grappling with independence, so offer her choices when you can. No one likes being told what to do all the time. Saying, "Would you like corn or carrots?" rather than "Eat your corn!" will give her a sense of control. Monitor how often you're saying no, too. If you find you're rattling it off routinely, you're probably putting unnecessary stress on both of you. Ease up and choose your battles — after all, would it really wreck your schedule to spend an extra five minutes at the playground?

Watch for signs of overstress. Though daily tantrums are a perfectly normal part of the terrible twos, you do need to keep an eye out for possible problems brewing. Has there been upheaval in the family? An extremely busy or harried period? Tension between you and your partner? All of these can provoke tantrums. If after the age of 2 1/2 your child is still having major tantrums every day, talk to her pediatrician. If she's younger than 2 1/2 but has three or four tantrums a day and isn't cooperating with any routines, such as getting dressed or picking up toys, you also may want to seek help. The pediatrician can make sure that a physical or psychological condition isn't contributing to the problem, and suggest ways to deal with the outbursts.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sleep training the second baby

I remember sleep training Isabella seemed so daunting, but when she (how old was she?!) was around four or five months, I started sleep training her at night . . . Providing a consistent bed-time routine and putting her bed awake. Dreaded doing the daytime sleep training, since I didn't feel as confident in general but also was not as certain of whether she would be crying out of hunger or being put down for a nap. Eventually, we sleep trained her for both. To this day, we are still enjoying the fruits of that effort. She's benefiting ever so much as well; they say that getting sufficient sleep is important for all people, especially for little ones with developing brains. On an aside, I heard on, I believe, NPR awhile ago that studies show new moms who get enough sleep or a little more sleep tend to lose their pregnancy weight faster. Really.

I've been doing sleep training with Victoria, albeit inconsistently. As with Isabella, I want hearing classical music to be a cue that sleep time is approaching for Victoria. A few days ago and just now, I laid her down awake. She whimpered for just a bit, but now she is asleep. Yes! Didn't know sleep training could be so easy. Now if only I would stop being so lazy and start sleep training her at night, too. Well, it is a bit on the early side for sleep training. Perhaps I'll wait until she is 4 to 4 1/2 months old.

Sleep training, so far, is much easier this time.

P.S. For those of you who have never gone through this before and have to face the decision of whether or not to sleep train, I urge you to make an informed decision. I have some friends who did not sleep train their first born, and even now (their children are 3 or older), the little tots have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. . .

We've made a decision on diapers . . . we're trying BumGenius with Isabella

Alright, my eyeballs and brain hurt from doing as much research as I could muster on cloth diapers, reading loads of stuff online and talking with friends (thank you Phyllis, thank you Maribel) who have used cloth diapers.

Why have we decided to make the switch?
  • The thought of producing 2 tons of waste, per child, from birth until she is out of diapers has been weighing on my mind. Just doesn't seem like I'm being a very good steward over the earth.
  • One of my friends calculated that they saved $1,200 (that's right one THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED dollars) by using cotton diapers. This was reconfirmed by a Consumer Reports article on Cloth Diapers.
  • Oh, and not being a Nazi about using cloth diapers made the decision easier, too. Using cloth diapers takes more effort than disposable diapers, and we reserve the right to resort to disposable at times (when traveling or just plain tired).
We aren't going to try this with both babies simultaneously. I've already received enough of a shock to my system that trying to cloth diaper both babies to start will probably push me to give up more easily. We're going to try this with Isabella first.

Perhaps you're wondering why Isabella? Well she fills fewer diapers a day than Victoria. Isn't she close to a potty training age? Perhaps. I'm waiting for more signs that she's ready to use the potty. For now, she still refuses to try the potty. Why waste the money on a baby that won't be in diapers much longer? We're not. We are using a diaper that can be adjusted to fit different size babies: BumGenius One Size diapers. So, Victoria can use them, too!

I've read tons and tons of reviews on different diaper brands. A few complain that BumGenius some times leaks or the fabric frays after several months of use. But, none of the diapers are without some sort of complaints from some one or other. I know someone who has been using BumGenius for about 10 months or so and is happy with the product.

A few weeks ago, what had stopped me short of trying any cotton diapers was that Isabella's stool can be pretty soft. Imagining it impossible to shake into the toilet or a pain to wipe whatever I can into the toilet, I suspended any move towards cloth diapers. They make this thing called a diaper spray which derives its rinsing power through a toilet, which makes rinsing the poop off much easier.

This morning, I purchased six blossom BumGenius 3.0 diapers and a diaper spray for Isabella.

Speaking of Isabella, her birthday is coming relatively soon. I mention this, not to pressure anyone into getting her anything. We're good. But, for those who are eager to purchase something for her, we'd encourage you to help get her some diapers. The BumGenius diapers usually sell for about $17.95 each. However, different vendors, such as CottonBabies or diapers.com offer a discount if you purchase six at a time. If you're interested in that, get the BumGenius 3.0 One-Size Cloth Diaper. Diapers.com might be a better option, because you get free 2-day shipping if the purchase is over $49.99, and you can use a coupon code to get $10 off as a first time customer. For example, try coupon code: 5968 (again, you have to be a first time customer to reap that benefit of saving $10). And, those of you who use fatwallet, if you enter diapers.com through fatwallet.com, you can get cash back points.

Or, if you'd like to get Isabella some toys, some ideas are Melissa & Doug toys I posted earlier, there are three underneath the Melissa & Doug piano. Oh, and cold weather clothes for both girls are welcome (2-3 T for Isabella, 6-9 mos. or a bit bigger for Victoria).

I don't know how I got way off topic. Once I have had some experience using the BumGenius diapers, I'll leave my own detailed review.

Should the name of this blog change?

I especially covet the input of those of you who frequent this blog. As my postings broaden, my first thought is that I need to change the name of this blog. Should I change the name of this blog or keep it the same?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Importance of Motherhood and G. K. Chesterton's comments on it

Perhaps I am experiencing Post-Partum Depression. Perhaps I am living through moving blues. Maybe picking up this or that from the floor for the umpteenth time, changing who knows how many diapers, hearing demands for this and that have sent me to cuckoo land.

This evening, as my husband was getting our older daughter (who is nearly two years of age) ready for bed, she saw a page in Dr. Seuss's "The Foot Book" that had a pig on it (the "Here come pig feet" page) and proceeded to say "pig" in Chinese, making pig noises ("oink, oink"). He was shocked and asked how she knew that.

Well, she and I work on different things throughout the day, not to mention the fact that her little mind soaks up EVERYTHING these days. I must confess that I told him that with distinct pride. Not with the kind of "hey, pay attention to me" pride. It gave me reassurance that I am in fact doing something.
  • Especially on days where I do not get a chance to do more than taking care of our young ones, I tend to feel pretty worthless and useless.
  • My husband and I are strongly convinced that my being home with the babies when they are so young is what is best for them, at this time. Believing that I need to be home right now and being comfortable with being home with the babies are two different things.
  • I didn't always believe that men and women were different, in terms of skill. Maybe I wanted to be egalitarian. Maybe I wanted to feel important.
  • After much discussion with people I highly esteem (including my husband), thinking about what is biblical, and observing people - I now believe that men and women were created differently. The differences may vary between individuals. Moreover, I will say that generalizations are not without their mistakes. There are always exceptions. That being said, women, in general, tend to be more nurturing, caring, and loving. I am not thereby claiming that men cannot be nurturing, caring, and loving. They are capable of those things as well, but they have to work much harder at it; those things do not come naturally for them. Again, I realize that these generalizations are not necessarily true for every woman or every man.
With those comments in mind, think about the responsibility of the mom staying home with the child(ren). She has to literally introduce the world to the little one, from the start. In fact, experts highly recommend that parents verbally and physically introduce the newborn to the world: explaining and showing her the different rooms of the house, where everything is, and what everything is. Somehow, the mother has to help the little one convert from using primitive language ability (crying or grunting) to communication in more sophisticated forms (uttering words or phrases). To add to the pressure, oftentimes babies develop preferences before they are able to use language to communication exactly what they want. Moms have to figure out what their tots want. How many times does it take to figure out what a baby wants when she points to something and grunts or yells?

In terms of what a baby learns, there are no limits or bounds. . . I believe that is part of the reason why parenthood can be daunting. I think it is also daunting, because contemporary society says that stay-at-home moms are not really working. They aren't respected. Seriously. When I am asked about my employment these days, I want to reply that I have numerous jobs that I am performing pro bono. I shudder at the potential response of "so, you are unemployed." Hey, which part of parenting do you NOT understand?!

Anyways, sometimes I still need encouragement that I am doing the right thing. Here is an excerpt from G. K. Chesteron's "The Emancipation of Domesticity," in What's Wrong With the World:

The final fact which fixes this is a sufficiently plain one. Supposing it to be conceded that humanity has acted at least not unnaturally in dividing itself into two halves, respectively typifying the ideals of special talent and of general sanity (since they are genuinely difficult to combine completely in one mind), it is not difficult to see why the line of cleavage has followed the line of sex, or why the female became the emblem of the universal and the male of the special and superior. Two gigantic facts of nature fixed it thus: first, that the woman who frequently fulfilled her functions literally could not be specially prominent in experiment and adventure; and second, that the same natural operation surrounded her with very young children, who require to be taught not so much anything as everything. Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren't. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.

I found the text from Ignatius Insight.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I am not just obsessed with eating . . .

It may appear that I am obsessed with eating. I confess. I am.

People claim I had a high rate of metabolism before I got pregnant. Yah, right. How do you explain the pooch on my belly? Well, these days, I not only have a pooch belly but I have cheese on my thighs and chunk on my butt. It's great.

No dieting of the eating less kind. Not now. I have to eat every two to three hours or I suffer the consequences of my stomach hurting for hours (no exaggeration, just ask Troy) until my body registers the food and stops protesting. Lots of my calories - except for the belly, butt, and thigh pooch adding - are going to Victoria's nourishment and growth. Definitely worth it. Once she no longer gets her meals from me, it's back to three meals a day and absolutely no eating before bedtime. Yuck.

Another visit to Denver Zoo, on August 30th

Oh, and by the way, Isabella loves to play with Play-doh. Not a day goes by without her asking to watch "Elmo" and play with Play-doh, along with going outside. Thankfully we have moved to a part of the country that cools down enough in the afternoon or evening to go outside without wanting to die.