Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cosleeping Smear Campaign

I just found out about this ad campaign that will be starting soon in Milwaukee.  I am absolutely sickened by this and I am going to try to find out what I can do to get it stopped!!  Ads of sleeping babies with KNIVES next to them saying sleeping next to a parent is just as dangerous! 

Here's a link to the article in our local paper.  You can see the ads there. 

I am absolutely dumbstruck by how uninformed people can be!  One of the things that strikes me about this is it says infant deaths was 5.9 per 1000 in whites and 14.1 for blacks.  Obviously this has something to do with the inner city and poverty.  Another article I read, which I have to search for, said something about how people aren't cosleeping for any baby benefits, but because they don't have a crib for their baby.  They are sleeping on the couch or in a recliner because they don't have a bed.  Perhaps we should figure out a way to get cribs to low income families instead?

It makes me so mad to see these ads.  Instead of scaring the shit out people who might not know what to do, let's educate them, shall we?  There are reputable places to go to find out more about safe cosleeping and bedsharing, like La Leche League,  or Dr. Sears.  And they all have similar guidelines, why not make an ad showing correct cosleeping techniques instead of a picture of a baby with a meat cleaver???

This just brings up so many emotions because being a mother is so hard.  They don't come with instructions, you get told so many different things on what's right or what works.  Then you have people intent on telling you every scary story of anything bad that ever happened to anyone they've ever known.  It's nerve wracking to be a new parent.  One thing I wish I would've known when having Ingrid is to follow my own instinct.  To follow Ingrid's wishes and needs.  But instead I was told to not hold her or she'd be clingy.  To get her on a schedule so she would be easier to deal with.  To make her sleep on her own, at certain times.

I tried those things and felt stressed out because they didn't work for me.  So I held her.  I fed her when she wanted to eat.  I had her in our room, in a vibrating seat because she didn't want to sleep in a crib at first.  I always felt like I was doing something wrong because I thought I should be able to get her to sleep in a crib--because people told me she should.  Not because it's a well known fact babies love cribs at a month old, but because they want babies to love cribs at a month old!

And then with Otis I finally felt comfortable enough to say fuck it and do what felt right to me.  He took all his naps in the Moby for the first six months, he ate whenever he wanted, even if it meant getting up four times at night (no, he's not sleeping through the night at eight weeks, are you crazy???) He was in our room for eight months.  And not once did I feel like I was doing anything wrong, I felt like I was doing things right!  Because they worked!  He was a happy, healthy baby, and I know it was because he got his needs met. 

I have been thinking of this for awhile because there's a group I started on Facebook for local moms and some of the things people post just make me sad.  "My daughter is nine weeks old and won't sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time in her crib.  It's driving me crazy!"  So wear that little girl!  Get your house cleaned while she sleeps :)  "My daughter loves to be swaddled but I want to know how to get her out of it, I'm afraid she'll have sleep issues if she is swaddled for too long."  Really?  Your kid will tell you they want to be swaddled or not swaddled.  Ingrid didn't like it at all and was out of swaddling after a couple weeks.  Otis loved it and was swaddled for months.  Trust your babies to tell you what they need!

And you know what?  They don't need to sleep with a knife.  They do, sometimes, however, need to sleep with their mother. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Little Nerd

My daughter loves school--loves it!  The first week she was a little hesitant, she liked it but still wanted us to wait with her until they lined up to go to their room.  Now, though, she is pushing me away, giving me a quick hug and saying okay, bye mom!  When I picked her up yesterday she was gushing about how she did the pink tower all by herself!  (I didn't know what that was, but I was proud that she was proud of herself!)

Yesterday was an open house to show the parents the room, meet the teacher, and have the kids show us their favorite activities.  Brendan hadn't been to her school yet, so it was fun for Ingrid to show her dad where she went.  She showed us how she does the pink tower (blocks of different sizes stacked up about 15 high) and buttoning, and coloring.  I just loved to watch her do things the right way ("we push in our chairs when we get up, Mom.") and she just seemed to really love what she was doing. 

I am once again SO GLAD we have public montessori schools!  This is probably the perfect situation for us.  I was worried about "regular" school for Ingrid, but I know she's not getting enough stimulation with just me and Otis at home.  This way she gets to go to school but is challenged and her mind is worked in interesting ways.  I am so happy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Beginning of the End

I think my time as a nursing mom is coming to an end.  After three months of on and off strikes, supplementing with bottles, and worrying if my supply is down, if Otis is getting enough, etc, we are now down to one nursing a day, er night.  Just the night feeding is me, the other two are bottles. 

I have mixed feelings.  Brendan asked me if I was sad when I told him I hadn't nursed the whole day and I thought it was maybe going to be the end of breastfeeding.  I'm not sad really.  I don't really know what I feel.  I kind of feel like a failure for not making it a year.  I kind of feel like I should be trying harder, which means I'm giving up, and no one wants to be a quitter.

But then I feel like it just doesn't matter that much.  Otis is growing and healthy and has had nine months of mama milk.  I know it's kind of a cop out, but that's better than nothing right?  It's just getting so stressful, worrying if he's getting anything, watching him suck at what seems to be an empty breast.  Pumping and getting nothing, and then getting confused because should that tell me I'm right that I might not have much milk coming in, or should I not pay attention to pumping because it's not like the real thing?

Blah.  I don't know.  It's easier to breastfeed, for sure, but then it's kind of nice looking at that bottle, seeing it go from 8oz to 6 to 4 to empty, knowing he's got a full belly.  It's strange not actually feeling him eating, though.  I just see his mouth working but I don't feel it!  It's very strange. 

How long did your kids nurse?  Did you ever slow down like this and then pick back up, or when it went down to one nursing, did it stay that way? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The School Run

So, after getting used to the idea of Ingrid not going to school this year, we ended up getting into one.  It's not our first choice, we have to drive there, but it's Montessori, it's free, and it's close even though it's not walking distance.

I have issues with the school.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but it's an old middle school that they have split into the Montessori downstairs and a high school upstairs.  Ingrid's room is bright and cheery, but you have to walk down this tunnel like corridor in the basement to get there.  The teachers are all really nice, but frazzled.  When I picked Ingrid up at lunchtime yesterday I could barely say hi to the teacher.  It was just a madhouse!  This morning when we dropped her off, there were about ten billion crying kids, which just broke my heart.  Like not just whimpering, but full on bawling and screaming mama.  And we were in the lunchroom so it was like echoey and loud and Ingrid just looked at me like "you are going to leave me here???"  I stayed with her until they lined up for class.

She is happy there, she is smiley when we walk in, she didn't cry when Otis and I left, she seems happy to be there.  I just don't like the chaos.  I am so used to our leisurely mornings, it is a little jarring to go to this loud clusterf**k at 9am.  Hopefully things will calm down as the school year goes on. 

But it got me thinking of the other school runs I've done in the past and how very different they are from this one.  When I was a nanny I would walk the kids to school and pick them up.  I did it for a couple different families, and they were all at the same school in the same nice neighborhood in a suburb of Milwaukee.  The school run there is moms that don't work walking over or driving their luxury SUVs.  The moms chat about whatever while waiting for their kids, the kids come out in their expensive clothes and go to their after school activities. 

Ingrid's school is in the Mexican part of town.  It's bilingual so everyone speaks Spanish.  There are a handful of white kids there.  School starts at 9am but there is a subsidized breakfast program that most kids take part in, so that's why they start out in the lunch room.  There is an afterschool program, too, so kids could theoretically be at school from 7:45am until 6pm.  Because their parents have to work.  They have nothing else to do with their kids.  It's so different than what I'm used to!

We'll see how the next month or so goes.  If Ingrid starts acting like she doesn't like it, I will take her out.  She can go to the neighborhood Montessori next year for K4.  I love the three hours she's away and Otis naps, but I love having her home, too.  Either way...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Go On Without Me.

Brendan just left with Ingrid for a two night camping excursion.  I am here with Otis, and I could  not be more excited!  Since Otis is teething and therefore not sleeping, I just didn't want to deal with that in a tent with the whole family not getting sleep.  And Brendan's parents are out there already, so they'd be bothered, not to mention anyone in earshot of a screaming baby...It's just best we stay home.

When I told Brendan my thoughts on this, he agreed, but said he'd like it if I could change my mind.  I have to admit, even if Otis weren't teething, the idea of having the house to myself with only Otis is rather charming.  He's sleeping right now and I don't have a three year old tugging at me to color or play or put on a Clifford DVD.  I never get time to myself (and look how myself is me and a baby!  I'm not even really alone, just more alone than usual!) so staying home just sounded so appealing.

I even went so far as to say this could be a new tradition in the making--Brendan's parents go to the same campground every year the week after Labor Day, so Brendan could take the kids for the weekend and go camping with his family while Mama stays home!  He looked appalled at that idea.  "I don't want this to be a tradition!  I want to go camping as a family!"

That got me thinking--am I just selfish?  My mom always relished any time alone, and now that I'm a SAHM I can see why.  The days are a constant barrage of wants, needs, cries, messes, laundry, and dishes.  From 6am until the blessed 7pm bedtime there is chaos.  Most of the time I'm okay with that, but a weekend, a whole three days, without it??  Count me in!

But it's not just that.  I love the idea of Brendan spending time alone with the kids.  It happens far too rarely.  I am one to jump in the car and take a six hour road trip by myself with the kids, spending a week or so with my mom or friends, but he doesn't do that.  I spend tons of time alone with them, but other than a couple hours at the zoo, he does not.  I never did anything with my dad, ever.  I cannot remember one single time we hung out just the two of us, or even just him and the kids.  Scratch that--my mom worked a New Year's Eve in 1984 or so, he had us that night.  All I can remember, honest to god. 

So the idea of being alone is awesome, but the idea of Brendan having Ingrid this weekend, making memories that just the two of them share, is even better!  Because I'm with the kids all day long, they tend to cling to me.  I think they need time with good ol' dad to see he's in charge, too.  And that he's fun!

So, they packed up the car and left an hour or so ago and I put Otis down for a nap.  I am sitting here drinking coffee, on the computer, making a list of things to get done this weekend.  And the house is silent.  And I am loving it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Yesterday was the best day.  No whining from Ingrid, no screaming from either of us.  And you know why?  Because I played with her, read her books, we went for a walk and played at the park.  I gave her what she needed.  I have been forgetting her needs lately, and I feel really bad.

I was just thinking of how everyone always told me she was such a good baby, and now people always comment on how sweet and laid back Otis is.  My reply to that is that I give him what he needs.  I hold him if he wants to be held, I feed him when he's hungry.  Just meeting his needs makes him happy the rest of the time.  And then I realized I don't do that with Ingrid. 

I tell her it's not time to eat yet, I say just wait a minute when she asks me to read her a book, I have a million things on my mind instead of focusing on her.  And when I don't focus on her, she starts acting up.  Whining, crying, wetting her pants.  And then I get mad, and I yell at her, and then I feel bad and hug her.  And really, wouldn't it be easier just to pay attention to her in the first place? 

So yesterday I did laundry only when I could make it downstairs, I cleaned up only when she was occupied with something, I read her the stupid Clifford books she loves so much, and she was in the best mood.  Sometimes it's so easy to forget the simple things that make our lives easier.  I feel silly for even having to remember this:  Pay attention to your kid.  Duh.  But life has gotten in the way lately and I need to regroup and remember to live with my kids, not just have them at my side while I go about my way. 

This weekend we will be at the cottage with my family.  I am so excited because it will be fun for all!  Tons of play time!  And hopefully less whining and screaming. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

I just saw it's World Breastfeeding Week!  Yay.  Someone on Facebook asked the question "what do you love about breastfeeding?"  Let me tell you:

1. I don't have to worry about water temp.  Not to hot, not too cold.  I hate when the bottle temp is wrong and his royal highness gags like I'm giving him sewage sludge. 

2. No clumps!  Nothing like trying to stir and shake a bottle and have clumps that clog the nipple.  If it won't dissolve in water, what's it doing to my kid's intestines?

3. My nipples are always on right.  Otis' bottles have a vented nipple that you have to have on just right to get the vent to work. 

4. No fumbling around at 3am making a magical potion, spilling formula all over the counter, that ends up being sticky and gross the next day.  My magical potion is ready made and easy to get to in the middle of the night.

5. Special treatment :)  We were at a baseball game this weekend, it was HOTTTT and sweaty, and I got to go to the First Aid room and sit behind a curtain on a comfy chair in the air conditioning so I could nurse Otis.  There were three other moms there and we were all laughing how we weren't in any hurry for our babes to stop eating, since that would mean we had to go back out in the heat. 

6. Looking down and seeing this:

Hello, happy baby!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Couple Updates

First of all, an update on our family time.  I think we've been doing pretty well at it.  Brendan has been taking little bike rides after the kids are in bed, so he gets some alone time.  I have been sleeping when Otis does on Saturday mornings, so that helps me catch up on some sleep.  And I also just had to show Brendan that family time does not have to happen only on the weekend and does not have to include a trip somewhere. 

For example, I was sitting in our bed with both kids, we were reading bedtime books.  Otis was smiling and giggling at Ingrid, she was kissing his hands to get another laugh, and I just thought, okay, here's family time.  Where was Brendan?  Out on the computer.  So I called him in and told him if he wanted family time, he'd have to be around his family, not in the other room.

This weekend has been super fun.  We went to the children's museum with friends, so Brendan took Ingrid around while I sat in the baby area and talked to a friend.  It was family time but also hanging out time.  I got some sewing done while Brendan played with the kids in the backyard.  He's out right now by himself.  I feel like this weekend we did a good job balancing.  Who knows if it will last, but it works right now!

I think Otis getting older is helping.  I know Brendan used to feel helpless when Otis was a newborn because he couldn't feed him.  He couldn't figure out how to calm him down.  But now Otis is a lot easier to figure out, he doesn't cry very often, and I've been trying to make sure I'm not the only one putting him down to bed.  I did that with Ingrid and I'm totally regretting she never got used to anyone else putting her to bed!

Which brings us to Otis and feedings.  He's been pretty good about nursing, he does most of the time.  But sometimes, like today, his teeth are killing him and he just refuses.  So he gets a bottle.  It's not often, and I don't really mind.  I wish I didn't have to, but I also don't want to deal with a screaming baby.  We seem to have figured it out.  He's eating solids three times a day now and that helps, too.  Not every single feed has to be from me, Brendan can help with those. 

Ingrid is enjoying her Montessori program.  She cried when we left her last week, though, it broke my heart.  The teachers said two seconds after I was gone she was fine, so I guess it's not that big of a deal.  She comes home with lots of stories about her new little friends, and tons of paintings.  What the hell do you do with all these paintings??  We hung some up in the kitchen, I'm going to save some for wrapping gifts for the grandparents, and I will recycle the rest I guess. 

I have to get her signed up for the K3 Montessori still.  I tried to go there last week but no one was there.  Can't get a hold of anyone on the phone.  The message says their hours are 7-4 but I think that's not during July.  The school is in a shitty neighborhood and it made me sad that I was hesitant about sending her there.  The teachers are awesome, why do I care if there's ghetto apartments across the street?  Am I a snob?  Either way, if we can get her into the neighborhood Montessori next year we will.  I'd much rather walk her to school than drive her downtown...

Anyway, that's our news.  Or non-news, really.  It's not very exciting.  It's lazy summer, we're pretty happy and everyone's healthy.  We're enjoying being in Milwaukee, and we're excited about buying a house soon. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Family Time

Every weekend Brendan and I have the same argument about family time.  I understand where each of us is coming from but it seems like we can never get the right balance.

See, as a stay at home mom, I am with my kids all day every day.  I don't get sick days, I don't get coffee breaks, I work from 5:30 am to about 9 pm at night.  During the week we find things to do--playdates, trips to the children's museum, the zoo, whatever.  By the weekend, I am so ready for a break that I tend to just want to hand the kids over to Brendan and go hide somewhere. 

Brendan, however, would like family time.  So he's always saying what should we do today?  Let's go to the zoo!  Let's take a walk!  Let's go the park!  I say okay, you take the kids, that'll be fun.  I'll take a nap, or get some sewing done.  Then he gets mad because he wants family time. 

I don't know, I feel like we spend plenty of time together as a family.  I don't know what B's expectations are.  We went to the farmer's market together on Saturday, we had a cookout with friends Saturday night.  We went to his parent's house together yesterday morning.  We all were outside together yesterday.  And yet he still got mad we didn't have enough family time.  What does he want??  I don't want to go to the zoo on a hot busy Saturday.  I don't want to take another walk to the park we go to almost every day during the week.  I want to go read a book or sew.  I want to get coffee with a friend.  I want to catch up on sleep. 

So basically we need to come up with a plan.  What do other stay at home moms do with this situation?  I'm so sick of my kids by Saturday morning that I just want a break!!  And Brendan's tired after a long work week and he wants to play but is also needing some time to himself.  So we have to figure out how each of us gets alone time, family time, and couple time.  Which we haven't really figured out yet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Big Girl, at SCHOOL!

Seriously, people, Ingrid is huge now!  She is just getting so big and mature and she just turned three.  I feel like it was forever ago that she was a baby. 

Yesterday was her first day at preschool.  She loved it!!  As soon as she woke up she was begging to go.  She wore her backpack with her pjs until it was time to get dressed.  She ran up the stairs into Miss Carrie's house, ran right to her first project, and didn't even look at me when I said good bye.  I said it a couple more times until she finally called over her shoulder "Okay, mama, bye!" 

Some people cry at leaving their child for the first time.  I did not.  I immediately got home, put Otis down for his nap, and sewed like a madwoman!  I got SO MUCH accomplished in the few hours she was gone, it was awesome!  I got washcloths listed, made a couple sets of cloth wipes and listed those, even got the front of a robot quilt done.  Otis was asleep for a couple hours, then he woke up and was cuddly and smiley, then he ate, and it was time to go get Ingrid.  What a great morning!

The teachers said she just jumped right in, and they were helping her learn what each thing was for.  "Miss Jamie could barely keep up with her," they said, which is code for damn, she's got a lot of energy!  But they took it in stride and seemed to like her enthusiasm.  Good.  We came home with some paintings and drawings she had done and she passed out for a two hour nap directly after coming home. 

Tomorrow is another day, we'll see how she does with it after the novelty wears off.  I have a feeling she'll like it, she needs social time with other people, as she is a social person and is stuck at home with me and her little brother all the time.  When we go to the park and there are other kids there, she runs over and gives them these huge hugs that make me think she is starved for other kids! 

We also found out about a couple other Montessori public schools in the area that have openings for their K3 program, so it looks like we will be able to send her in the fall!  Exciting!  The one in our neighborhood is one of the most popular schools in the city so they basically laughed at me when I asked if I get her in.  There is a 90 child waiting list.  So we have to drive her to another school instead of walking to our neighborhood school, which pisses me off.  But, what are you gonna do?  I will enroll her in another school for this year and then for K4 hopefully we can get her in the one in our neighborhood. 

All this from a person that wasn't even sure I wanted to send her to school at all!  Brendan is amazed by my switch.  But I think it's all to do with Montessori.  It really seems to gel well with Ingrid's personality, and it's not the same old school like I had.  I just see her being so advanced and mature for her age and I cringe to think of her with the basic stuff I had to do.  I was SO bored in school.  I don't want that for her.  If she can be in a Montessori school I think it will be better for her.  Yay MPS for having Montessori schools--like six or seven of them! 

Monday, June 20, 2011


I signed Ingrid up for a summer program that some Montessori teachers are doing.  It's in one of the teacher's homes, Ingrid will go for two mornings and have lunch there.  We went to an open house yesterday to see what the set up is, meet other kids and their parents, and talk to the teachers. 

Ingrid was in love the minute she stepped inside!  They have three rooms set up with all the goodies from their classrooms.  It all looks so inviting, but I was terrified to see glass things and ceramic things and other breakable things right at Ingrid's level.  She is such a tornado!  She breaks shit all the time!  I immediately started to feel apprehensive.

There are kids that older and have gone to Montessori for a couple years, so they know what everything is for.  Ingrid, however, is brand new to the whole game, and just went from one thing to another.  I don't know why I felt apologetic, but I did!  I was like oh my god, she will get into everything and knock shit over, and they'll all think I'm a bad parent!

I have never ever felt this way before!  I've been pretty confident in my parenting skills, I love my child and her feisty ways, and I do believe a child's personality can outweigh what their parents do (aka, it's not my fault she's such a spaz!) 

So yeah, it was a real eye opener.  I know she'll have fun but now I'll all worried that the teachers won't be able to control her or they won't like her because she's such a handful.  I know what a handful she is and I love her because I'm her mother, but other people don't have that connection.  I think I just have to take a deep breath and know that they are teachers, they have seen a lot of different children in their time, they know how to control other people's kids.  Right?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Meltdowns and Tantrums

I bet you thought I was going to talk about Ingrid's tantrums, didn't you?  But no, I'm the one having a meltdown.  At the end of the week I am just so tired.  Of everything.  Of everyone.  I'm tired of doing another load of laundry, I'm tired of unloading the goddamn dishwasher again.  I'm tired of hearing Ingrid ask me to get her water bottle that is two feet away from her.  I'm tired of Otis teething.  I'm just tired.

So tonight I threw Otis' bottle across the room.  It was in my hand, I felt mad, I threw it.  And you know what?  It felt kinda good.  I totally get why Ingrid has these tantrums and hits things and screams.  It feels good.  Sometimes you don't wanna use your words. 

I was going to write this post about how sick I am of being the only one that can ever do anything around here, but then Ingrid called out from her room "Mama?  I'm sorry I yelled at you.  I love you."  And I realized that yes, it's a hard fucking job, but it's worth it.  I get to see Otis' drooly smiles first thing in the morning, I get to give Ingrid kisses and hugs when she's groggy from her nap.  I get to do these things now because that's what phase we are in, and some day it will all change and I won't get to do them.  So I should quit complaining (and throwing things) and embrace the fact my children need and want me. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Family Size

We had the talk last night.  Are we done, for sure, having kids??  I think we are.  Brendan is anyway.  I'm about 80% sure.  And when we were deciding on whether or not to have another after Ingrid, I was 80% sure I wanted one.  So...I think we're done. 

I have to wrap my mind around that one.

A few people I know are pregnant right now for number 3, and even though Otis is still a baby, I was a little envious when I found out.  Then I found out another friend is pregnant for number 2 and she got pregnant when her baby was Otis' age.  Sigh...I hate being pregnant, I'm remembering last summer how sick I was, how miserable I was in the heat even though I wasn't big.  How life seemed to stop while I laid on the couch for months at a time.  And let's not forget the whole three week hospital bedrest ordeal!  And yet I'm envious of pregnant women??  What's that all about?

We were dead set on having an only child, and I do have to say I'm glad we changed our minds.  Watching Ingrid be a big sister is amazing, she loves to make Otis laugh and talks baby talk to him.  Yesterday morning she got up and said "Where's my Otis boy?"  And Otis is nothing but smiles for his big sister, even though she's not gentle with him at all.  He gets smacked in the face by her foot or gets a hug that suffocates him, and all he does is gurgles and smiles like it's the best thing in the world.

So another one?  I could do it.  I loved this past six months with Otis.  Using the Moby, nursing him, sharing a bed with him.  He's now settling down for naps on his own, bedtime on his own, he can sit in his Bumbo for a half hour or so at a time, or on his play gym and be content while I get things done.  By the time another Bub would be here, he'd be walking and eating solid food and would be a toddler!  So yeah, I could do it.

But Brendan says he doesn't want to.  And I can see the pros of being done now.  I could finally lose all the weight I've gained birthin' babies.  Ingrid will be off to school soon and it'll be just me and the Fat Man.  We can sort of travel right now, we have a parent for each child so it makes it easier to keep an eye on them.  It's kind of like we have the best of both worlds--our kids each have a sibling and we still have a relatively calm household. 

It's just hard to say never.  I've heard women say they just knew when they were done, they knew their families were complete.  I don't have that gut reaction, I could still imagine another one.  But I also am enjoying our new life back in Milwaukee, the idea of buying a house and making it our home.  I don't really want to be pregnant for another one.  So, I guess we're done. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sewing for Fun Vs. Money

I've started to think about putting my etsy shop on hold this summer.  I love to make stuff for it, it gives me a great creative outlet, and it makes a tiny bit of money for me to feed my fabric addiction.  But...I've been feeling stressed about it lately.  With a teething baby and a needy three year old, it is hard to come by time for sewing.  And I find myself wishing they'd just shut up for ten minutes so I can get some sewing done, how's that for a great mother?

I have a million friends that are having babies right now and I haven't made a thing for them.  I keep getting distracted by the shop.  Instead of making something for them, I think "Oh!  That would do well in the shop!"  How selfish.  I need to take all my cutest fabrics and make something for friends.  I have a ton of stuff stocked and haven't made a sale in a few weeks anyway, so why do I feel the need to continue producing items for sale? 

I also have not made a thing for either kid in forever!  That was how I got started was by making stuff for Ingrid, and now here the poor kid is with nothing in her size, as she's outgrown everything I've made for her.  And Otis got two pairs of pants this winter and nothing else. 

Okay, I think I've convinced myself--my priorities for this summer and sewing are to make more for my kids and my friends and just have fun with it. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

On Strike

Well, it seems Otis is on a nursing strike.  Today after his first feeding after he got up, he refused to nurse every single time.  Blech.  I just hate it!  He gets all fussy and then when I try to feed him, he dives in and seconds later is screaming his head off because my letdown is slow.  I try to stay calm and get him to try a little harder but it just pisses him off more.  So after about fifteen minutes of this, off to the kitchen I go to make a bottle...and then he just sucks it down in no time at all and falls asleep or lets out a big burp and a smile.


I want to nurse him for at least a year, that has been my goal.  And I really love to be able to feed him and have it be so easy and without needing anything but a nursing bra.  I looked online and there are all these women talking about how their kids did the same thing and it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one.  The doctor even said it was really normal for babies his age to start to resist because of teeth and just their newfound awareness of the exciting world around them.  Okay, it's normal, sigh of relief. 

But then...I read what the women end up doing to get through the strike and some of these women are pumping every three hours for months at a time and giving them breast milk in a syringe and all this craziness.  Am I selfish for really really not wanting to do that?  I did the whole pumping thing and I hated it.  I was hooked up to that thing all the time, and I swore once I didn't have to do it anymore, I never would.  But here I was today pumping three times.  And swearing the whole time.

So, how much do I want to continue?  And why am I even worrying so much?  He's getting fed, he seems happy and healthy no matter where it's coming from, shouldn't that be the most important thing?  But I have all these hang ups like I'm failing if I don't try harder to keep him going.  And then I think f**k it, isn't it better to feed him and see him calmed down than trying to nurse him and watching him scream?

I guess I'll just keep trying to nurse first, then if he really gets upset give him a bottle.  And hopefully he will get over it and we'll go about our merry way and nurse for another year.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trying to Be Adventurous.

We just got back from our camping trip.  It was awesome!  The first time we took Ingrid it sucked.  She didn't sleep, Brendan and I were both crabby, we barely lasted through the night.  I wanted to pack up at 3am and just drive home.  That was two years ago, we hadn't gone since then.

But...we love camping, we want our kids to love camping, and now we're back in Wisconsin so we have places we want to go.  And so we tried again.  With a five month old and three year old.  And you know what?  It went so well! 

Otis was jolly and grabbing his toes and babbling in the fresh air.  Brendan took him in the Moby on a couple hikes and he napped.  He fell asleep in my arms as I sat at the campfire.  Ingrid was in heaven, getting dirty and playing with sticks and telling herself stories about the trees dancing in the wind.  She played at the lake and went swimming and took a bike ride with Brendan. 

The whole weekend was magical.  We were spending time together as a family, we didn't get into stupid fights because we were stressed, even though both of us were super tired as Ingrid was up at 4:45am!!  We reminisced about other trips to Door County, we ate good food.  And it made me so glad that we didn't shy away from trying to go camping again. 

That's one thing I want to remember with my kids--always try new things.  Sometimes they don't work and it's a disaster and I hate the whole trip (like the time we visited friends and Ingrid was up screaming all night long and Brendan ended up sleeping in the car with her on his chest!) and sometimes the trip is amazing and we have so much fun.  Either way, we are making memories.  Stories that Ingrid will someday share with her friends and maybe even her kids.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thank You, Thank You!

Update on the nursing strike--Otis is fine.  He has sucked on a frozen washcloth and been fine.  When he really pitched a fit last night after a hot sticky day, we just gave him a bottle and he fell asleep.  I am not going to fret about it. 

I just want to say thank you to everyone who commented--it made me feel so much better knowing I wasn't the only one to go through it and that it was a small setback and not the end of our nursing!  Isn't it funny how you can get yourself so worked up thinking the worst case scenario?? 

I really don't know what I'd do without a computer.  My first thought when this happened was to write a blog post.  And I posted in a mom's group on Facebook.  And I went to some websites people had recommended.  It's amazing how a few hours later I had some feedback and felt so much better!  Thank you.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Help With Nursing Please.

Otis is refusing to nurse lately.  He acts hungry, will suck for about two seconds and then get frustrated and stop.  On both sides.  Not all the time, but it's been a few times in the past couple days.  I finally break down and give him a bottle and he'll suck down 8oz. 

He is just five months and is teething, so I don't know if that's what it is, but it is really frustrating me!  I do not want to give him formula.  If I pump I don't get very much.  I want to nurse him for seven more months at least!!  What do I do? 

Please help, I am hating every bottle I feed him, knowing I have milk flowing from me.  He just isn't taking it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

83 Years Old.

My grandpa just passed away last week, on Ingrid's birthday actually.  He was sick for awhile and couldn't move, eat, bathe, get dressed, etc, so his passing was not a shock.  He wanted to go.  We wanted him to move on, be in a better place.  The memorial service is on Wednesday and I had to try to explain to Ingrid where we were going and why.  That is a pretty hard concept to tell a three year old!

His name was Laverne, I think that is so funny!  But for some reason people called him Pete.  He had huge ears.  He raised six kids in a small house and on a small salary and they all turned out great.  He and my grandma would have had their 63rd wedding anniversary next month. 

My sister was talking about remembering his big wet kisses and it got me thinking of what memories I have of him.  I don't remember the sloppy kisses.  I do remember him walking around in just shorts with socks pulled up to his knees and no shirt on.  He had chicken legs, just like my kids.  He had a very strict rule about no walking on the inside of a circle of chairs around a campfire.  Always walk on the outside, otherwise you might fall in.  This was driven into our heads from a very early age, and when Brendan was introduced to everyone I think he was yelled at a few times for not following it!

Grandpa had twenty something great grandkids, and I'm so glad to say he met both my kids.  Otis is named after his dad, so it was important for me to make sure he met the Bub.  I am so sad they won't remember him, but maybe Ingrid will have vague memories.  The original Otis, my great grandpa, died when I was really young but I do have some memories of him.  We have pictures.  They'll know who Laverne was.  Who knows, maybe my first grandson will be named after him!

Hope you're in a better place, Grandpa.  I hope your mom is with you and you're not in pain.  I hope you see us all on Wednesday and let the sun shine down on us.  I'll miss you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tummy Time is Bullsh*t.

I just thought I'd let you all know that I have done about ten minutes total of tummy time with Otis in the past five months.  My doctor said I had to do fifteen minutes a day with him, all the books say you have to do it with them, moms talk all about tummy time.  And I just ignored everyone and didn't do it.  Just never got around to it. 

Do you think my son has a jelly neck and can't hold up his head?  Is he going to walk around with his head drooping on his chest forever?  Have I done something detrimental to him? 


We were at the children's museum last week and they have a little baby area.  I put Otis down on his belly in front of the mirror and up popped his little head, strong as can be.  He just stared at himself in the mirror, drooled all over, and cooed.  Just like any other baby at five months.  And then he rolled right over back to his back and went about his day.

I put him in the Moby and hold him up on my chest and do all sorts of other things where he has to hold his head up so why would I put him on the floor and listen to him scream for fifteen minutes a day? 

I'm not saying no one should ever do tummy time with their kid or judging you if you do it.  I'm just sick of so much worrying!!  It's so hard to be a mom and then you have doctors and books telling you what to do and telling you bad things will happen if you don't do them.  I wish we could turn off all the outside noise and follow our motherly instincts and just live.  And enjoy our happy children instead of worrying about all the terrors in the world. 

Wow, how did this go from tummy time to that?  Whatever, it's early rambling but there it is.  I think tummy time is bullshit. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Five Years

Tomorrow is Brendan's and my five year anniversary.  FIVE YEARS!  So much has happened in five years!  It got me thinking about our journey so far and how we've finally made it to a more stable place. 

We moved in together after five months of dating.  He started grad school, I quit school and started nannying full time.  My parents got cancer and a divorce.  We went to Europe and got engaged.

We moved to another apartment to save money for a house.  We got married.  I got pregnant.  I lost my jobs and was down to working one day a week while he was finishing up his PhD. 

We moved in with his parents.  I had Ingrid.  We had NO MONEY.  We lived with his parents.  With a newborn.  And three huge dogs.

Brendan got a fellowship and we moved to Michigan.  We didn't know anyone there, we didn't know the area, we had to find an apartment online.  We started to play catch up with our finances.  We never did catch up.

We moved again to a better neighborhood.  I got pregnant about four seconds later.  Ingrid was in a bit of an upheaval.   I ended up in the hospital for three weeks before having a preemie.  Brendan was looking for jobs this whole time and not finding anything.  We had a baby in the NICU and our only income coming to an end. 

Brendan got a job!  We moved back to Milwaukee!  We are around friends and family again!  We have enough money to pay off credit cards!  To save for a house!  To buy a new car!  Both kids are happy and healthy! 

Big sigh of relief.  Things are settling.  We are looking for houses, figuring out schools for Ingrid, saving for our future.  We are finally there.  Where we've been looking toward for so long--we're stable, we're happy, we can plan things knowing we'll be here in the future.  Yay Team Liddle!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another Post About the Second Kid

I'm still enjoying the fact that I'm way more laid back about Otis.  Every day I realize how things change and we go with the flow and change what we need to and I just don't stress.  His "bed time" which I use loosely, is ever changing.  I usually get him ready and then bundle him up in a blanket and either nurse him to sleep or he hangs out in my arms for awhile and eventually falls asleep while I'm snuggled on the couch.  Then when I'm ready for bed I bring him in with me. 

With Ingrid I would rock her and feed her and she would take forever to fall asleep and I would get so irritated because the day had been super long and I just wanted to relax finally.  I would put her in bed and listen to her cry and sigh and go back in.  It was stressful. 

Naptimes are similar.  I put Otis in the Moby and go about our way in the morning, either cleaning the house or doing laundry or walking to the park.  Whatever the case, Otis falls asleep almost instantly and will sleep for an hour or so.  I never pay attention to how long he's been sleeping.  This happens a couple times a day, he sleeps here and there in the Moby or in my arms while I try to rest in the afternoon.  I don't pay attention to how many naps he gets, or how long they are.  I don't worry about how much sleep he's getting or not getting, I just go by his personality.  If he seems like he needs to sleep, I put him in the Moby and walk around. 

With Ingrid I would try to put her down for her naps at the same time every day, I was stuck at home for nap time.  I would freak out if she didn't fall asleep right away or sleep for long enough or especially if she didn't sleep at all.  Worry worry worry.  Is that inevitable in the life of a first time mom?? 

Otis is also just fed whenever.  I don't know if it's been one hour, three hours, four hours.  I just hear him get fussy, try to figure out which side he should be on, and nurse him.  And again, I follow his moods and he lets me know when he needs to eat. 

With Ingrid I bottle fed and therefore was so concerned with how many ounces she was consuming, I knew in x-amount of hours I had to feed her.  And oh man, just having to travel with bottles and formula and water, it was so much extra work.  I'm so glad to be breast feeding this time around!

It sounds like I am regretting what I did with Ingrid, and that's not really true.  Sure I wish I had known I could've nursed  her with my meds, and yes I wish I had known about babywearing sooner than six months old.  But I did the best I could, and believe it or not, I still consider myself to have been a laid back first time mom.  I'm just realizing how much I've learned in the past three years and how much my parenting style has changed and how much better this works for me.

What have you done differently with baby number 2 or 3? 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's My Job Description?

Here's a question for any stay at home moms out there:  How much help do you get from your partner?  I know Brendan is a great help and is always willing to help, but I feel like his job is going to work and making the money and my job is everything else.  And it's never ending.

My days start at 4am, when Otis wakes up for his first nursing of the day.  Back to sleep until 6ish when Ingrid gets up.  Coffee, breakfast, clean up the kitchen from Brendan's hasty rush out the door, clean up the living room from Brendan being up later than me and leaving mugs/blankets/laptops all over the place.  I deal with Ingrid, then I deal with Otis, then I maybe deal with myself.  Maybe.  The laundry gets done, the groceries are purchased, the meals planned, the floors swept, the baby worn so he naps, the kids fed, the cat box cleaned, the bills payed.  Then it's dinner, bedtime for Ingrid (which has recently become a knock down, drag out brawl every night...and can only be done by Mama) a brief pause when Otis is happy and will be content with Brendan, and then bedtime for Otis at 9pm, also done by Mama.  And then I pass out. 

I'm not complaining about my job, because I love it.  I love being home, not having to bring the kids to daycare, being able to go for long walks to the park, staying in my pjs until 10am.  But I could still use some help.  Like I said, the mister is willing to help but doesn't do it on his own usually.  I can ask for help and get it, but for example, I never come home to a fresh load of laundry all nicely folded, or a swept floor or cleaned kitchen.  And his excuse is "I had both kids."  It is SO frustrating.

He works hard, he has stress at his job and worries about providing for us, and I appreciate that.  But I don't get paid and my job goes for way longer than 9 hours a day.  And I work weekends and holidays.  And Mama is tired!  I just want help.  I have thought about hiring someone to come in and clean once every two weeks or so--but that's ridiculous!  We should be able to get things done around here as a team and I feel like I'm alone in everything house related.  Like that's my job as a SAHM, and I should just deal with it. 

Anyway, any tips on getting the help without it becoming a huge deal?  Without fighting or arguing all the time?  Much appreciated, thanks ladies!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Second Time Around

I'm realizing just how different the second time is when mothering.  My four months with Otis have been so different than Ingrid's first four months!  As I sit here typing this, Otis is asleep in the Moby, as he would not be put down this morning.  Instead of worrying that he "needs" to learn how to sleep laying down in a bed, I just popped him in and walked around to get him to sleep.  And I'm enjoying listening to his little breaths and feeling his warmth up against me!

With Ingrid I felt rigid.  Instead of going with the flow, I worried every time there was a change.  I had to be home for naptime, I had to feed her at the same time, I read books that told me I had to start solids at a certain time, I had to have a bedtime routine, I had to let her learn how to soothe herself.  I felt like it was this monumental job that I couldn't screw up on, or else there would be major repercussions throughout Ingrid's whole life.  If I did something wrong once it was going to turn into a habit that could not be broken. 

Ahhhh, how glad I am I'm not that way with Otis!  I don't know if it's knowledge or necessity or a bit of both, but I just glide through our days without even thinking about things like that!  He sleeps when he sleeps, he eats when he eats, if he's not happy I put him in a carrier and then he is happy.  It just hit me that he's four months old in a couple days and I hadn't even thought about what milestones he "should" be reaching.  Cooing, smiling, reaching for toys, grasping things, finding his toes, holding his head up, sitting, whatever he's supposed to be doing, I don't care!  He does what he does.  He'll do more as time goes on. 

I wish I could go visit myself three years ago and tell myself to relax, take a deep breath, and look at the big picture.  Now I see how fast the days and months go and I'm enjoying every second of Otis growing, instead of thinking of the next thing he should be doing or saying I can't wait until he's older and can walk/talk/sleep etc.  He'll do all those things.  In the meantime I'm going to laugh every time I hear his first giggles and stare at him while he sleeps next to me and wear him before he starts squirming. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hold On a Second...

That phrase comes out of my mouth about seventeen thousand times a day.  Seriously, hold on Ingrid, I'm feeding your brother.  Hold on, Otis, I'm just putting this laundry away.  Hold on, whoever is calling me, I'm making dinner.  Hold on, hold on, hold on.  I have been feeling so pulled in a million directions lately, it's driving me nuts!!

I used to pride myself on being able to multitask.  I think that was at a time when, if I got the things on my list done, I got to go home.  Now, though, the list just keeps on going.  If I finish ten things, there are just going to be ten more things to do after that.  So I'm not as motivated to do things, maybe.  Whatever the case, I have been seriously behind on lots of things, trying to focus is hard, and I'm always telling Ingrid to hold on. 

I'm just starting to realize how different her life is from just a few months ago.  I know every kid goes through this and every mom goes through feeling guilty, but it just hit me how hard this must be for her to have a new sibling, move, have a crabby mom all the time.  She keeps saying things like "I need you to take care of me, I want you to play with me, I need you."  And I always say "Hold on, I have to do..." insert mundane task here.  It's never important either!  I am just always pushing her away, telling her to wait. 

The past few days I have tried really hard not to make her wait.  I drop what I'm doing and just hold her.  Yesterday we cuddled on the couch while Otis napped and I made up dumb stories about sparkly unicorns.  She looked up at me and said "I love you so much, mom."  Oh dear.  I have to make more time for her.  I have to!  The floor will still be dirty in twenty minutes, the laundry will still be there to fold after we play or cuddle or just read books.  Perspective, Amber!  Remember all those nights where I didn't want to rock her to sleep because I was tired?  And I said she's only going to be this age once?  Well the same thing applies here and I have forgotten that.  She will only be almost-three once, and I have to enjoy these cuddly moments so I can look back upon them fondly when she's rolling her eyes at me every ten seconds in ten years. 

So you guys will have to hold on while I go play with my daughter.  Hold on, I'll be right there. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gender Roles

We had an interesting experience this weekend.  I was getting ready for Brendan's work party and decided to paint my toenails--something I never do!  I asked Ingrid if she wanted hers done too, and she giggled and said yes and then sat stone still while I painted them.  It was funny, she kept staring at her toes, "look how pretty!" 

Then Brendan came into the room and said oh, is it my turn?  Ingrid looked at him and said "No, Daddy, that would be silly!"  He tried to get her to expand but she never did. 

Which got us wondering about nature vs. nurture.  How did she come to the conclusion that nail polish is okay for girls but not boys?  Like I said, we never use the stuff, it was the first time I think I've ever painted my nails around Ingrid.  It's not like I said anything about only girls can use it.  To my knowledge, no one else has been telling her that.  So how did she figure that one out??

This has me wondering about the whole gender role thing and what she thinks about it.  We aren't big believers of seperating things--Ingrid loves her big fire truck, but she also loves her fairy wings.  She loves her little guys, but also loves to play kitchen.  Brendan is the bread winner and goes to work every day, but Mama is the one to use the tools and builds a dresser. 

I've been told that raising a boy will be different than raising a girl, and to some extent I believe it.  I know I've heard countless times that both genders will take the same toy and play with it in completely different ways.  Like girls have conversations with their toys and have a set idea of what is going on and boys will just go nuts with the toy, bouncing off the walls and being crazy.  I have seen that for sure, but then I wonder how much is personality.  Ingrid and her cousin are so much alike and he's a boy.  They've both got the same high maintenence issues, which my brother and his wife thought was because he was a boy and his sister was so mellow.  But we have a hyper girl and a laid back boy. And they had another boy that's laid back.  So...???

Anyway, it's got me thinking of how much can we teach our kids, how much will they just pick up on their own, and how much is nature? 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Making Decisions

Is every almost-three year old so indecisive?  Ingrid is horrible at making a decision.  She finds it too overwhelming to pick something if given a choice. the same time finds it heartbreaking to have decisions made for her.

Every morning we go through the same struggle--what do you want to drink?  Apple juice or milk?  You would think it was Sophie's Choice up in here!  It takes that girl so long to choose!  Apple juice, no milk, no apple juice.  I take out the apple juice, "NO!  I want milk!"  I poor the milk, "NO! I said I wanted apple juice!"

Just now I asked her what she wanted to eat.  "Nothing."  Five seconds later when I'm sitting here at the computer drinking my coffee (which I had no problem choosing, thank you very much) she starts going on and on about how she's "really really hungry" as if we are starving her. 

OH MY GOD, she just tests my patience so much these days!!!

From my nannying days I remember to avoid a struggle you were supposed to offer a choice of two things.  That way they feel like they have a say in what goes on, but aren't overwhelmed by too many options.  But Ingrid takes those two options and goes back and forth and cannot decide.  She ends up freaking out because I end up saying I'm counting to three and then you have to choose or I will.  The scenarios here are:  I choose for her, she freaks out.  I let her choose, she can't make a decision and we end up in front of the refrigerator cooling off the whole kitchen.  I count to three and make her decide and she freaks out.  What gives, it's just juice!!

Any tips?  Anything you find that works?  Do they grow out of this (PLEASE SAY YES.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sleepy Sleepy

Guess what?  Otis is a sleeper!  Hot damn.  It's made me think a lot about kids and sleeping, all the things I've read on the subject, how hard I've tried to get Ingrid to be a sleeper. 

Ingrid was an okay sleeper when she was a baby.  She'd go to bed around 7pm, wake up at 3am, then sleep again until 7am.  I was okay with that, it became totally normal and if she didn't wake up at 3, I still would.  It was always a quick bottle and back to sleep, it never dragged out or anything. long does that need to go on for?  All these other moms would talk about their kids sleeping through the night and when did Ingrid start to and what are you doing about it?  Blah blah blah.  I would just tell myself that it was sort of like she was sleeping through the night.  The technical term was for sleep between midnight and five am, she just did her five hour stretch earlier. 

Alas, it went on and on and on.  Ingrid never got out of that middle of the night waking.  After she stopped having bottles, it was calling out for her nuk.  After we got rid of the nuk, it was that she needed her blanket on.  Now it's anything--her blanket, a drink of water, her pillow, she's lonely, a simple "I need you so much, mama!"  But it is still going on, wake ups at 3am and she's almost 3 years old...

And then there's my Fat Man.  This kid amazes me!  He usually naps until 6pm, then wakes up and has alert time where he loves to be talked to.  He does that until about 9pm, then I put his pjs on, a clean diaper, swaddle him up, and nurse him to sleep.  He sleeps in his bouncy seat right next to our bed and will fall asleep around 10pm.  Most nights he sleeps until 5-5:30am.  Without a PEEP all night long.  And I heard breastfed babies wake more often because the milk is more easily digested! 

So here's the thing--what have I done differently?  Nothing that I can think of.  We started a bedtime routine of bath, books and bed at 2 months old with Ingrid.  We had a fan in her room, we had low lights, we were quiet.  She's just always been a really light sleeper.  With Otis I do the same thing, he has a fan on, low lights, the house is quiet because Ingrid's already in bed.  He just ends up staying asleep.  Is it luck?  Is it the gods showing us not all kids are as complicated as our little Ingrid?  Is it second baby syndrome, where they just go with the flow because they have to?  Who knows!

All I know is that it's even harder to get up with Ingrid at 3am now because her three month old brother is sleeping through the night like she never has!  Last night after the fourth time of her crying out for something I got mad and told her to be quiet and go to sleep, NOW!  She said "Mama, be nice to me!"  I was about to scream, be nice to ME.  SLEEP.  FOR ONCE. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good Day

Just thought I'd post that I had a great day today.  It started out early as hell, but I had coffee all ready to go and Ingrid was in a good mood.  So, it was doable.  I had my bathroom and kitchen cleaned, Ingrid had breakfast, I'd had two cups of coffee, and Otis was down for a nap all by 9am.  Sheesh.

Ingrid played by herself for a long time this morning, she got into my button stash.  It's amazing how simple things like buttons or scraps of fabric can keep her occupied for ages!  I used the time she was busy and Otis was sleeping to make my living room curtains. 

We had new friends over to play after lunch.  It's great to be back in Milwaukee because everyone had kids while we were gone.  So instead of being the only parents, we now have a great support group of others with kids and there are a lot of moms around during the day to have playdates with.  Ingrid's not too sure of her new friends, she seems rather pushy with them--to see what she can get away with maybe?  I don't know what it is, but with her old friends in Michigan she never seemed this bossy/grabby/pushy.  Hopefully this too is a phase that she will quickly outgrow!

I can almost feel spring coming.  I can't wait.  The lake is a couple blocks away and there's a great park there I can take Ingrid to.  I will be so happy when we can just get outside and I can let Ingrid run her energy off instead of her breaking down at 4pm every day because she's been cooped up with a tired mom and a colicky little brother.  It's so close!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cry Baby.

I'm having a serious issue here, people.  Otis is a cryer.  He has to be held at all times, night included.  At first I was okay with it, he was so small and new and I believe babies cry to communicate they need something, not just to cry.  We never really let Ingrid cry much, I always always went in to get her or give her whatever she needed, I still do actually.  And Brendan and I talked about it a lot, since he was more prone to let her cry, let her soothe herself.  I always always said no way, I won't abandon my baby.

We just had that talk again about Otis.  He is a clingy baby, for sure.  I don't remember Ingrid ever being that needy.  I wear Otis in the Ergo or sling 90% of the time, or put him in his bouncy chair if he's sleeping peacefully.  But lately he falls asleep in my arms and when I set him down, he starts screaming.  So I pick him up, he falls back asleep.  It gets a little tiring.  And it's not really practical for me to be holding him all the time.  I have another kid to take care of, I have my own personal needs, like eating and going to the bathroom and showering.  And frankly, I don't always want to wear or hold him.  Wearing him is better than holding him, as I have both hands, but I still can't always do what I need to do, especially amidst all the unpacking we're doing right now.

So yesterday and today I have been going crazy because it starts at 4am.  He cries, I pick him up, feed him, change the diaper, and he falls alseep.  Until I lay him down, even right next to me in the bed.  This goes on all day long.  He cried in the car seat, he cried in Target, he cried when I made lunch, he cried when I was trying to do something for Ingrid.  I'm trying to multitask, but come on!  Give a mama a break, just be quiet for like two seconds while I get stuff done!

Just now I had him laying in his crib while I sewed, he was fine for awhile.  I was really close to finishing something so I just let him cry for a bit while I got done.  And what do you know?  He fell fast asleep, he's still sleeping right now, he looks really peaceful and has been quiet for more than 15 minutes!!  I hate the idea of letting him cry but it seemed to work. 

HA!  No it didn't, he's up again...What do I do??  How do you balance a needy kid and everything else???

Saturday, February 26, 2011

All Moved In!

We made our move.  I am SO glad it's over!  After saying I wouldn't lift a finger this time, I ended up packing 99% of our belongings and cleaning the apartment from top to bottom...It was a crazy move, we stayed at a hotel and then drove and then stayed at my in-laws.  We were pleasantly surprised to see our new house, as we rented it sight unseen from craigslist.  Luckily we know the neighborhood and have an idea of what duplexes look like around here, so it wasn't too risky. 

Our new house is amazing!!  By far it's the best place we've ever rented.  I guess that comes with the fact it's the most we've ever spent on a place, too, but it's so worth it to be in a nice place with plenty of room.  Our bathroom, can I just gush??  It's amazing.  All new tiles, bath, toilet, vanity.  Space to move, a built in linen closet right outside.  SO MUCH better than our bathroom before with the running toilet, the shower whose knobs had fallen off, the gross glass door that was always dirty no matter how hard I scrubbed it.

And our kitchen, again, is amazing.  Huge, tons of cabinets, you can fit more than one person and a garbage can in it.  Our last kitchen was horrible!  It was about four feet long with just enough space to stand in as long as you didn't have to open the dishwasher, oven, pantry, or refrigerator.  Our new place has all new appliances that we had to actually take the tape off the doors!!  And a gas stove!  And one night Brendan and I were in there talking as he held Otis and I made dinner and we realized how great it was to be able to both be in one room without it feeling like we were stepping on each other.  Ahhhhhh, room to spread.

Ingrid has been a handful but as we settle in she's been better.  She was upset over all her stuff being packed up, so I made sure to get her room ready and unpack all her toys right away.  It was like Christmas around here with her rediscovering things that had been in boxes for weeks!  Her new favorite things, though, are the baby toys I'd packed up long long ago.  Plastic rings, board books, and a walker cart are suddenly her best toys! 

It's been a bit strange to have friends around again.  We're so used to being pretty much alone that I forget that I can call up a friend and hang out!  It's going to take some getting used to.  I am just so so so so happy to be here!!  We are here, we are staying, and we are finally able to live our lives and not be in that strange limbo we've been in for years!  Hooray! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Moving On...

Well, our time here in Michigan has come to an end.  Brendan got a job in Milwaukee and we leave in a couple weeks.  It has all happened so fast, it's wierd!  On the one hand, we've been preparing for this for a long time, knowing he was looking for jobs and interviewing.  On the other hand, he had an interview one week and was offered a job the next, to start a couple weeks after that.  So it kinda happened in a blur!

I have mixed emotions about leaving.  Mostly I'm excited!!  I am so glad to be going back to the city that became my home.  I have tons of friends there, there are things to do, cool apartments that are affordable, Grandma and Grandpa live there, we'll be by Lake Michigan again.  Just thinking of this spring and hanging out with friends and going camping and hiking and skipping stones at the lake with Ingrid--it makes me so happy!!

However, moving means leaving behind some great friends I've made here.  And of course we all got pregnant at the same time, and I might not even get to meet the other two little boys, who won't make their appearances until after we leave...And Ingrid loves her little pals, it will be hard to have her ask to play with them and have to tell her no, they're six hours away.  Honestly, we probably won't ever come back to Ann Arbor after we leave.  My family is on the other side of the state, so going to Michigan means going there, not all the way over here.  Maybe they'll want to come visit Milwaukee?

Mostly I'm just relieved that we are going to get our life going.  I feel like we've been in limbo for years.  First it was grad school, then moving, then job hunting, and now finally we get to move home, buy a house, and know we're going to be there for more than a year!  No more wondering what the future holds, we can actually LIVE our lives now!  It was so frustrating to have to wonder where we'd be.  I want to sign Ingrid up for ballet lessons, but where will be?  I want to look at preschools, but where will we be?  We wanted to plan a trip to our favorite campground in Wisconsin, but would we be near there or all the way across the country?  Now we know!!  Now we can plan!! 

It's such a good feeling.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Family Bath

One night I decided to jump in the tub with Ingrid, bringing Otis with me.  Ingrid thought this was the most exciting thing!  She played while I held Otis in the water.  He enjoyed it much better than his infant bathtub baths.  I got a chance to relax a little bit with the kids.  It was good all around.  Except for the fact that our tub is too small for all of us!

When we visited my mom we took advantage of the ENORMOUS garden soaker tub.  Ingrid squealed that it was just like a swimming pool!  I loved the fact I could actually sink down in the water and stretch my legs out and still have room for Ingrid and her twelve thousand toys.  Even though I don't envision us having a big house, we NEED to have a big tub I've decided.

Last night was another family bath.  Ingrid was all smiles, Otis nursed the whole time, and I took a nice deep breath after the long day of dealing with Ingrid being sick and whiny.  Like I said, it's good for everyone involved and is a perfect ending to a busy day. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cleaning. Which Makes Me Want to Be a Minimalist.

So Brendan has had job interviews and hopefully will have an offer or two this week.  Which means I'm back to packing and cleaning.  I just went through every closet upstairs last week, and already they're filled with junk I moved from one spot to the next...I just packed up all my sewing stuff and found a box of wires that I have absolutely no idea what they go to.  I found dead batteries, scraps of ribbon, pieces of patterns I've never made.  So much junk!

Which leads me to minimalism.  I would SO LOVE to be a minimalist.  I want a house with no knick-knacks, artwork on the walls that looks like it was meant to be placed there (not just wherever there was a nail hole.) I want clean lines and open spaces.  Instead I have hand me down couches with tons of pillows we always throw on the floor, and baby swings and toys galore...

In some respects I think I am doing an okay job.  I will never need a walk in closet because I don't own a lot of clothes.  I have about four pairs of shoes.  I only buy one thing of shampoo at a time, and for that matter, only one face wash, toothpaste, cleaning product, etc.  I have tried to stay away from lots of toys for Ingrid, especially the ones that have tiny parts and aren't much fun.  I purge and donate monthly.  And somehow my house ends up full of crap every time I have to move. 

This time we've only been in our apartment for ten months.  I would have hoped that meant that we'd have at least two months less crap around, but we had a baby.  And I love fabric.  And thrifting.'s never ending.

So back to cleaning I go.  I throw stuff away, I have a donate pile, I clean, I pack.  And it still seems like we have so much stuff!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

So Well Put...

I just read this story over here about how bodies can be sexual and also practical, and it just cracked me up.  The part about shaking hands and thinking of the people masturbating with the hands is so funny and SO TRUE!!  And it made me feel better about this whole after baby/sex thing.  Honestly I feel no urge to do it again, being that I am a milk cow on call 24/7, but this changed my point of view a bit.  I can be a mom and have sex, I just have to compartmentalize.  My husband will be happy to hear that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Things I'm Lovin' Right Now

1. Ingrid's imagination.  She will sit with her toys and just have the best conversations with herself.  I've overheard her feeding her baby doll and saying "How many pounces did you eat, baby?  Oh, eleven thirty pounces?  Good!"  Also heard, when playing with her robot doll, in a monotone voice, "I AM A ROBOT.  I AM A ROBOT."  Yesterday we brought up the fire truck from the basement and she played rescue animals all afternoon.  I love that she can entertain herself so well!

2. Our new Bummis wrap.  It's small enough for Otis but it's got plenty of room for him to grow.  Our prefolds fit so nicely in it and it's cute and green with colorful dots all over.  I'm loving our prefolds in general.  We got some Bum Genuius XSs that are good, but last night showed me why I hate AIOs.  I thought they were dry but apparently they weren't, so we ended up having to change Otis' clothes three times in the middle of the night because they'd gotten soaked.  If I put something in the dryer for 80 MINUTES!!!  I expect it to be dry when it comes out! 

3. My family.  Last night after dinner Brendan was playing with Ingrid and I was sewing.  We had music on, a really bad 80s channel, and lots of bad songs came on, which we sang along to and Ingrid danced.  I just love our evenings when we hang out before bedtime.

4. Not being homeless!!  Brendan just found out yesterday that he can stay at his job for a couple more months while he's searching for his new job.  It's a pay cut but it's way better than the nothing we were planning on having in a couple weeks!  And we get to keep our health insurance, which is the biggest relief ever.  Brendan has had a couple phone interviews and next week he has one in Missouri.  Not sure what we think of moving there but a job is a job. 

5. This pattern.  I love it!  A friend got it for me and I've made a few pairs now.  It's so easy and so cute and the sizes are big enough for Ingrid.  I made a pair for her the other day that turned out huge, so I'll be able to use the pattern for awhile for her!  Yay.  It felt really good to sew again.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Otis is gaining weight, he was over six pounds on Thursday!  Today is our last doctor appointment, can't wait to see what he weighs today.  He's been eating a TON, he has no lack of appetite.  Brendan and I can't get over how fat his face has become.  Still has skinny chicken legs but his head looks enormous now! 

I am hopefully not gaining weight, lol!  I didn't gain a ton with the pregnancy and when I went to a doctor's appointment a couple weeks ago I was at my prepregnancy weight.  Although that was still 15 pounds over what I should be...I forget how hard it is to switch from "eating for two" to eating just for myself again!  I never felt bad about a donut here or there while pregnant, it's not the same afterward!

And weighing heavy on my mind is where our future is headed.  Brendan has two weeks left of his job, then who knows?  He has been steadily applying to jobs, he has had interviews aplenty, but no job offers.  We have a backup plan of sorts, but it is not a happy one.  It involves borrowing money and living at my mom's.  In a small town in the middle of nowhere!  It involves getting our kids on state health care so we can still take them to the doctor.  We will not have health insurance, so I can't get sick, and we can't have any accidents.  I certainly cannot end up back in the hospital!!  It's a scary unknown time and I'm trying to think positively but it's hard.

For now I'll just stare at my two adorable kids and enjoy them.  I'll leave the job stuff up to Brendan and just think about money stuff later.  There's always time to worry about that, I will procrastinate with the worrying!  It's all about priorities, right?  My priority right now is to enjoy my family.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Formula vs. Breast Milk

When I first had Otis, I was determined to only feed him breastmilk.  However, with him being in the NICU and me not having any milk come in for four days, I said it was okay to give him a little formula.  But my main source of nutrition was still to be the mama milk that came flowing in days later.  For the most part I was able to use my pumped milk, but I did supplement with formula.  At the time, Otis was so tiny and needed to gain weight and they told me his formula was higher in calorie content so he needed it.  I'm okay with that in the short term, I saw how he got when we had him home the first week.  He wasn't strong enough to nurse, he needed to be bottle fed.  Fine.

But now, weeks later, the fat man is almost six pounds and strong as can be.  I would technically be 37wks along if I were still pregnant and he'd be considered full term.  So why is it that the doctor was determined Otis needed high calorie formula to gain weight??  I had to go to the NICU to get special preemie formula they don't sell at the stores, the doctor was adamant he needed the extra calories.  I asked if he could still get breast milk and she said he really should be getting formula. 

However, me being me, I stuck to giving him the breast milk and only used the formula bottles for midnight feedings, so maybe two feedings a day were the formula.  And what do you know, he gained more than he needed to this past weekend!  So you can take your high calorie formula and shove it...

I am not against formula, I fed Ingrid the stuff for a year.  But I hate the idea of telling women they have to use it for their baby to grow.  Last time I checked breast milk was made specifically for babies. 

Facebook had a nurse in last week and I posted a picture of myself nursing Otis, with a caption saying he's a preemie and nursed right out of the NICU.  Someone posted how her friend had a preemie and was told over and over she HAD to use high calorie formula for her kid.  It just got me thinking this is probably a common occurence and that makes me sad.  I want to know exactly how much better preemies do at gaining weight with formula vs. breast milk.  Anyone know?  I'll have to look it up.

Anyway, my bub is doing fine, he's getting fatter and stronger by the day, and it's all thanks to my mama milk that I lovingly pump every four hours.  Not the stinky, staining Enfamil they sent me home with, thank you very much.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Post About My Boobs.

Otis is home!!  We got to get him last night, and he has done really well today.  He is much easier to wake now, he stays alert for longer periods of time, and he is eating so well.  I still have to pump to make sure my milk supply gets better, but I also get to nurse him, which is still pretty awesome.  Afterward we have to supplement with a bottle to make sure he gets enough, but it's nice I'm allowed to nurse him.  At the NICU yesterday a mom was asking to nurse her daughter and they told her she'd have to see how her daughter's heart rate was first.  How sad, to not be able to do what you want with your kids.  It's so hard.

But little man is doing well, I'm making more milk already today, and that Mother's Milk tea is actually pretty tasty, so I don't mind drinking a couple cups a day.  If I can just get through this next couple weeks until Otis is at his due date and hopefully catches up to being a "normal" kid, things will be smooth sailing!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pumping Sucks.

Ha!  Get it?  Pumping sucks?  True on so many levels...

Anyway, Otis ended up back in the NICU last week with a really low temp and no weight gain.  So I'm back to pumping milk to bring to him at the hospital.  Yesterday I met with the lactation consultant and she told me how much milk I'm supposed to be producing and I cringed.  I'm not doing so well apparently.  I tend to get busy and let time slip by and before I know it, five hours has passed between sessions.  Today I have made it my goal to pump every two and a half hours. 

That takes up my whole freakin' day!!  By the time I'm done and clean up my supplies, it's almost time to do it again.  I can see why people give up so easily in the early days and just go to bottles!  But I am determined to get this thing established so I can nurse Otis when he gets home.  DETERMINED!!  That is one thing the L.C. told me was that it's more about the mom sticking to it than actual milk supply.  If you want to nurse, you usually can.  It's just about being willing to give up your days to the demand of sitting there hooked up like a milk cow...

Luckily Ingrid is enthralled with the pump and wants to help.  She loves to plug in the tubes and "turn on the noise" and if I do it without her she has a fit!  What a strange little girl!  First she's obsessed with cloth wipes, now she's obsessed with breast pumps :)  What am I doing to my poor child??  She is always talking about boob milk and baby milk and feeding her babies with her boobs, it's so funny to hear her.  I guess that's what happens when you're open and honest about things with your kids! 

Hopefully Otis will be released today or tomorrow (they keep pushing it back one more day...) and then I won't have to pump anymore.  I cannot wait until this kid is fat enough to take home and strong enough to eat what he needs to!  I keep forgetting how tiny he really is.  My due date isn't for another 26 days, so I need to remember that.  But he'll make it, and we'll have a long time to nurse after he comes home.