Oliver at Seven Months.

January 23, 2012

Special Talents

Babbling. Ba-ba-ba and da-da-da are his new favorite things to say & we are loooving it. It totally sounds like he is talking to us & responding to us when we talk to him.

Chewing food. He uses his now six teeth to bite his baby mum-mums & it’s so cute to see. He looks like a little grandpa when he chews.

Dancing! Whenever we sing or bounce in front of him, he will rock his little body back & forth. He especially likes dancing to the alphabet song. :)

Crying

We did have lots of crying this month with LOTS of teething pain, sicknesses, etc. So sad. He was also really clingy and would cry whenever I set him down anywhere by himself. It was tough times. But then last Tuesday, it was like a switch flipped & he became super happy, contented, giggly, independent baby again. I looked on the wonder weeks chart, and what do you know, it’s sunshine week. :)

Sleep

Ollie has two naps, a morning nap & an afternoon nap, totaling about 3-3.5 hours a day. I think it is kind of on the low end of sleep needs for his age, but he just won’t take long naps if I put him down earlier, so I am following his cues & just trying to be thankful that I have more time to go out & hang out with friends. Wake times have been pretty consistent for the past month actually, maybe only increased once about 15 minutes, which is so super duper nice. I hate playing the guessing game, which is basically what the first six months were all about. He did cry a lot in the middle of the night this past month — mainly due to teething pains I think — but they were always brief cries & he would go back to sleep on his own. Now we have a new problem where he is waking early in the mornings (sometimes before 5am!!!). I have been trying to troubleshoot like crazy (is it hunger? is it overtiredness? is it undertiredness?) to no avail. Fingers crossed that it’s just a phase & it will pass.

Dislikes

Getting his face wiped after meals. If I take too long, he will cry, so I usually do sneak attack on him super quick-style.

Solids. I think it was mainly because of the teething discomfort, but he started refusing solids altogether for a couple weeks. I would still try, but he would be tight-lipped & turn his head away whenever he saw the spoon coming. I finally took some advice from an older mom to give him a break and stopped feeding him for a week or so. Thankfully he is accepting food now & slowly (very slowly) increasing the amount he eats. Today he ate the most he’s eaten in over a month, so I am very thankful!

Being on his tummy. Now that our baby boy knows how to sit, it is his position of choice at all times. I try to put him on his tummy to give him some crawling practice, but if he can’t reach a toy, he will get very fussy & unhappy. Eventually he will just put his head down on the ground and suck on his fingers. What?! Who’d he get the lazy genes from? (Me.)

Likes

When we let him taste what we’re eating. Even though he dislikes his own food, he will always open his mouth if it’s something we’re eating. Doesn’t mean he’ll actually swallow it, but I think he just likes the idea of having what mommy & daddy are having. I pretty much let him taste anything as long as it doesn’t have honey, citrus, too much sugar, or too much salt.

The jumper. Still loves the jumper. He’s pretty much maxed it out in size, but he and I both love it too much to stop.

Leapfrog toys. I’ve pretty much stayed away from all super colorful/plastic/musical/talking/commercialized toys unless it was given to us as a gift. And even some of those, I just stored away in the closet. I gravitate toward the wooden, organic, non-mainstream toys. But Joan gave us a hand-me-down Leapfrog toy that Isaac used to play with, and it is so obvious that this is Ollie’s favorite toy. He loves playing with all the different buttons & knobs to create different songs, sounds & lights. I really think he’s developed a lot more fine motor control skills through this toy, as well as learned how to dance from the ABC song. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but this is our favorite toy as well & I’m definitely going to be keeping my eye out for more Leapfrog goodies.

Family cuddle time. A lot of times we have a couple minutes to spare after we get him ready for his naps/bed before we have to put him down, so we’ll make an Ollie sandwich and do lots of swaying, hugging, kissing, & smiling in the mirror. Guaranteed smiles & giggles, for sure. I think it’s so interesting & adorable that babies know that kissing is a sign of affection & love.

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Cloth Diapering Report.

January 12, 2012

First off, I’d like to say thank you to all the sweet women who emailed me, FB messaged me, and talked to me in person. I got emails from other first time mamas, mamas of two, mamas of three, not-yet mamas, mamas who I thought had it all together, mamas who also had a hard time having children (and those still trying), mamas of newborns, and mamas of school-age children. It was just so refreshing for me to hear from such a wide spectrum of women who all struggle with the same thing. Ladies, we’re in this together. :)

Now, on to the subject of the day: cloth diapering, as shown above (clearly an old picture cause his hair is cuh-razy).

I posted awhile back that I was going to cloth diaper. Boy, was I excited about cloth diapers. These days? Not quite as excited about cloth diapers (or pee & poop, for that matter), but I’m still going at ’em strong & still think they’re good stuff. I started Ollie out in disposables when he was born cause he was itty bitty, had to have his diaper changed like 8x a day, and I loved having those wetness indicators when he was a newborn. Gotta be honest, I was dreading the switch over to cloth. But at 2.5 months, I did it & have not looked back. It is easy breezy stuff, man.

Laundry

We have about 24 diapers, and I wash diapers about twice a week. Not bad at all. Cold rinse all diapers once with no detergent. Then hot wash/cold rinse with a little bit of detergent and some bleach. Stick everything (waterproof covers, microfleece inserts, waterproof pail liner) into the dryer for ~40min. Take out waterproof items & dry the inserts for another ~60min. (Our dryer is pretty weaksauce, so it would probably be shorter in a normal dryer.) Stuff all my diapers with inserts, fold them up, and put them away into the top drawer of Ollie’s dresser. Voila.

With regular laundry to do too, it is quite a bit of laundry. There are weeks where I feel like I’m doing laundry non-stop. But this week, I did diapers, whites & colors all in one day and haven’t touched the laundry since. I think that’s the way to go. And as much as we do laundry, we have a heck of a lot less trash. At the beginning it felt like Steven was taking out the kitchen trash like everyday — it was just filling up with diapers so fast!

Leaks & Rashes

We have had a lot less leaks with cloth diapers than with disposables. We never had too many pee leaks with disposables, but we would always have those poops that would shoot up the back, resulting in lots of soiled onesies, changing pads, blankets, and brest friend covers (he liked going #2 while he was nursing). There is elastic on the back of cloth diapers (at least the ones we use — BumGenius brand) that kind of catches everything  & keeps it in. Not always, but for the most part, it is much better than disposables. We did have lots of pee leaks with cloth diapers at the beginning, but I realized it’s because Ollie is kind of a heavy wetter & quickly remedied that by adding in an extra newborn insert along with the regular microfleece insert.

Ollie has never had a diaper rash. I don’t know if it’s because of the cloth diapers, but he never had them before he started wearing cloth either, so it will forever remain a mystery. Just thought I would include that tidbit of information.

Fit

The thing I have found most tricky about cloth diapers is that it makes his booty mighty chunky. Which is probably why I have never put him in a pair of real pants. We stick to sweat pants and leggings around these here parts. I do realize that he is getting older now & probably should own a pair of real jeans, but it is pretty hard to find a pair of pants that fits his monster booty & thighs while not being too long for his short short legs (he unfortunately inherited my super long torso & super short legs). And you know how I love them skinny jeans… I just can’t get myself to put him in regular wide-leg baby jeans.

It is also a little tricky with his car seat. The crotch buckle is pretttttty tight. We probably need to upgrade him to a convertible car seat now, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I do think he has this problem more than other babies because he needs the double-inserts for extra absorption.

I also wonder how long he’ll be able to wear cloth diapers. He is kind of on the bigger end of the baby spectrum, and at the rate he’s growing, I’m afraid the cloth diapers just wouldn’t hold him until he’s potty trained (which was my original intention). But then again, he might just be a fat baby & end up being a small or average toddler. So time will tell.

Sleep

Initially I was a little worried about starting cloth because I thought it might affect his sleep. Some people have commented that their babies are sensitive to the wetness and it causes them to wake early. Thankfully Ollie doesn’t seem to notice the difference, but he has never been one to wake early from a nap because he has a dirty diaper.

Diaper Sprayer

This item has been pretty awesome. Steven hooked it up to our toilet and we use it to hose down Ollie’s poopy diapers before we stick them in the dirty diaper pail. I will say that you have to be really careful with how you angle the sprayer and how high you set the pressure of the water, otherwise there will be poopy water spraying in every direction — onto the toilet, onto the floor, into your face…. In some ways, it is easier now that we’ve started solids because his poop is a little thicker, making it spray off more cleanly than the newborn poop. But solids poop is also stinkier. :(

Odor

We haven’t had any problems with odor, lingering in the bathroom or lingering on the diapers. Our dirty diaper pail is just a plain kitchen trash can with lid & seems to contain the smell pretty well (at least, I think!). I do hold my breath when I take the bag out to stick in the washer though… And bleach does wonders for the odor on the diapers themselves.

I think that’s it! Unless anyone has questions I didn’t address, in which case you can email me. The best analogy I have for how I feel about cloth diapering is how I feel about washing dishes. We took a little break from cloth diapering for about 2 weeks when we went up north to visit my family after Thanksgiving. It was just too much luggage to take all our diapers with us, so we switched him over to disposables for a little bit. Dude, it was nice. Just change it & throw it away. I was getting sad as we ran out of disposables, knowing that I had to go back to washing diapers, but once I started cloth again, it’s like I never stopped. It’s the same way I felt when we had Meals on Wheels after I had Ollie and we used paper plates & plastic utensils all the time. We never did the dishes & it was so nice. But eventually we ran out of paper plates & had to go back to washing dishes. I dreaded it, but kind of knew that it was time. Same same.

All in all, it has been totally doable & I will most definitely do it with all my kids (did I just say all?!).

An Honest Discussion.

January 6, 2012

I have been thinking about posting this for awhile, but the fearful part of me keeps putting it off. Along with the daily list of to-dos that I never seem to be able to cross off. But I’m doing it. I’m taking the plunge. In this post I’d like to speak honestly for a moment about motherhood.

Motherhood is hard.

It is so hard. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, am doing, will ever do, I believe. It’s not just the daily grind — the constant cleaning, laundry, scheduling, feeding, bathing, cooking, listening to crying, whining, screaming. All of that, I think I was kind of prepared for before I had Ollie. I knew I would be sleep deprived, that I would be tired. But the hardest thing? The hardest thing is the anxiety. Nothing could have prepared me for the anxiety I would feel about taking care of my baby. From an outside perspective (before I had kids), it seemed so easy. Sure, it’s tiring work, but I knew how to feed a baby, how to change a diaper, how to put them down in their crib & listen to them cry. I knew how to hold them & bounce them to make them smile, how to make them feel better if they fell & hurt themselves. But I didn’t know how much I would worry for my child, how much I would want the absolute best for them, how stressed I would be if they didn’t take a long nap, how much the crying would wear on me by the end of the day.

I don’t believe that every mom struggles as much as I have these past seven months, and because of that, I’ve had a lot of insecure thoughts & emotional breakdowns & feelings of guilt & inadequacy. But I have always been one prone to anxiety & worry, and of course motherhood brings that out the nth degree. I wrote a couple posts at the beginning about my baby blues & just how hard those first couple months were. And it was okay to write those things because it’s a typical hard time for most moms. But then Ollie turned 3 months. And then 4 months. And now we’re almost at 7 months. And the truth is, I am still having a hard time. Granted, it is SO much easier & SO much more predictable & I feel SO much more stable than I did then. But to be quite honest, I am nowhere near what I feel should be “normal” for a mom of a 7-month-old. It would make sense maybe if my baby were colicky, didn’t sleep through the night, took horrible naps, wasn’t very happy, or weren’t growing at a normal rate, but Ollie is none of those things. He is an angel baby. I don’t say that often because I don’t want people to feel bad, but he is. He is the sweetest, happiest, easiest baby ever. Yet I am still struggling.

After a particularly difficult week, I finally mustered up the courage to contact some older sisters who I know struggled with similar emotions after having their babies. I thought that maybe I might have some form of postpartum depression. I never did find out if what I’m experiencing is in fact PPD (and in hindsight, it doesn’t really matter if I do or don’t), but I did come away from those conversations so encouraged. They told me I wouldn’t feel this way forever, that it would pass, that I would enjoy different stages of my child’s life, that I would be able to have more children & that I would enjoy the baby stage more with each child, that they too cried & felt so guilty all the time. It was just a relief to me that I wasn’t alone. Sometimes when I look around at church or on Facebook, it seems like everyone is breezing through motherhood, just enjoying their babies so much & already ready to move on to their second or third. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy Ollie — I adore him to pieces & ironically spend countless minutes looking at pictures of him & watching videos of him after we put him down to bed for the night. But when I think about having a second? My heart starts racing — not in the good way, like when you’re about to see your boyfriend who you haven’t seen in two weeks — but in a panicky, omg-I-can’t-do-it-I’ll-die kind of way. All of this is so hard for me to admit & even to deal with internally because all I’ve ever wanted in life was to be a wife & mother. I never had great ambitions or things I wanted to accomplish aside from those two things. Shouldn’t I be filled to the brim with happiness & radiating joy everywhere I go? And particularly more so because of the journey we had to go through in order to have our precious Ollie. I feel like I should be that super thankful, ultra happy mama who just delights in her little baby & can’t wait to have more, more, more! I am so thankful for Ollie. I am. I love him SO much and really can’t imagine not having him in our lives anymore, but the hardships that have accompanied motherhood have been crushing for me at times. I have felt so desperate & trapped at times, yet there is nowhere to go.

But (and here’s the clincher), of course there is. The same God who carried me through all the heartbreaking grief & anxiety of miscarriage is the same God who is carrying me through all the daily hardships & anxiety of motherhood. For some reason, in my mind, I thought we were in clear waters after we got pregnant with Ollie. Now I could move on with my life & embrace my destiny as a mother — be the mom I was meant to be, raise these kids with passion & joy, be that excellent wife & mother I had always dreamed of. But apparently the mom I was meant to be is weak, impatient, irritable, anxious, full of guilt, depressed, overwhelmed, and can’t even put a decent dinner on the table half the time. How glamorous, huh? I thought that now that the Lord had finally granted my prayers and wishes of having a healthy child, I would go and prove to Him how good of a mother I could be, how much I would appreciate His gift, how much I would cherish and delight in this role He had given me. But as it turns out, The Lord still wants me to turn to Him, depend on Him, run to Him with all my fears, anxieties, heartbreaks, and failures… except now as a mother.

The past seven months have been so humbling. So I-want-to-bury-my-head-in-the-ground humbling. I’ve also had moments where I want to run out the door and just drive somewhere & not look back. Moments where I want to crawl into bed and not wake up in the morning. But I do. And oddly enough, as long as the past seven months have felt, it’s also gone by in the blink of an eye. How is that possible? I’m not really making goals for the new year, but one thing I would just like to keep in mind for myself is to just stop comparing myself to other women. I’m sure there are moms out there who struggle just as much as me (though I don’t know who they are), and then there are moms who really are breezing through the baby stage. But it doesn’t matter. The Lord made me the way I am and it was His will to make me experience this crazy roller coaster of emotions that has come with motherhood, ultimately to draw me to Himself & to seek to find my peace & rest in Him. So seek I will.

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