Monday, July 30, 2012

High School Reunion

This weekend was my ten year high school reunion. They had a lot of events! At first it felt like a lot, but now that it is over I think it was probably well planned. I only went to two of the official events (and one unofficial),  but I wish I could have made it to at least one more.

Friday night was a cocktail hour thing at my old high school. They had wine and snacks and the school was open for us to walk around. We had been told there would be some teachers there, but none came unfortunately. Saturday during the day I went to a bridal shower for an old friend, but missed out on the beach day for the reunion where people had their kids. Saturday night I went bar hopping.  

I am not sure where I am going with this post. I don't really want to just recount the reunion but my thoughts on it are not fully formed either, and I am not sure they ever will be. So bear with me.

There were people from my high school class I wanted to see again - friends I had lost contact with but always have liked and wanted to know what they are doing, how they are, maybe reconnect and keep in touch better. I did get to do this with two or three people, and they are just as fun and friendly as I remember. One of them said a few shocking things for me though. She basically said that she was miserable in middle school and she described how horrible her feelings about herself were back then. I had no idea at all. From my perspective she was always smart, friendly, creative - the kind of friend that when you go to their house you always do something new and interesting that you would not have thought of. I told her this. I hope the weekend helped her put any bad feelings about her school experience behind her. It just sort of reminded me that you never really know what another person is experiencing.

There were people that I wanted to see again that I have kept in touch, but don't see often. I saw a couple of these people. One of them was incredibly negative about the whole reunion experience, and it really made me regret wanting to see her and encouraging her to come out! The funniest part was after the bar hop was over, during which she mostly complained about her drinks and said everyone there hated her, she posted on facebook saying that was all positive about the reunion. This reminded me (actually a repeat topic for the weekend), that people don't necessarily represent themselves honestly online.

There were people that I really was neutral on seeing that I had sort of been friends with in high school, but never that close and maybe never really connected with or even had some unspoken issues with. I saw a few of these people. All of them were pretty much exactly the same towards me, with the same little quirks that I remembered in them that made them prone to exclusion or drama, or whatever.

There were people that I did not think it would make a difference to see, that I did not hang out with in high school and I did not think they would really pay attention to me at the reunion. This was somewhat true - though everyone exchanged the obligatory small talk catch up with you greetings there was lots of people where this was all, and that was fine. Although I was surprised how many people knew a lot via facebook and/or complimented me on all the adorable pictures of Benjamin! Always nice to hear as a mom and a reminder that just because you don't see someone's posts on facebook does not mean they don't see yours (all are my facebook friends, but I dont see their stuff).

There was one or two people I absolutely did not want to see. Bullies (reformed bullies really...) Of course they were there. But such is life. It was more annoying than anything.

The reunion made me think about who I was in high school, who I am now, and how I want to relate to people. High school was about defining ourselves as people, fighting for our space in the world (at least in our little worlds). That is really what cliques are about in high school, isn't it? Forming our non-familial tribes in modern society in the little microcausism that is high school. Then we are released into a larger world and more variety begins. Some people never really escape that high school way of thinking, but most people I think do. Most people realize that things are more complicated than  we thought in high school, that we are smaller, the world is bigger, and our cliques mean nothing when compared to it all. So here is what I was really thinking about this weekend... that life is better when you are open to other people. I am having trouble wording this in a way that does not sound incredibly cheesy. I saw people at the reunion who were stuck in the high school mindset - the idea that some of those people in the room were somehow against them. They obviously give themeselves too much importance. Maybe when we were in high school there was an us vs them between groups, but now we are all from the same place, and there is no benefit of holding grudges or being negative, while there are a million benefits of engaging in conversations, rebuilding and forming connections, and generally just being friendly to people.

There it is. The point. Life is better when you make an effort to be friendly to people, even people who you might have a less than great history with.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Boy Crib..?

Did I mention Benjamin has not been sleeping well?

It started when he got a cold four weeks ago. When he had the cold he slept poorly and woke up frequently because he could not get comfortable and had a stuffy nose. The cold went away, but the poor sleep stayed. I have attributed it to so many things - vaccines, the start of teething, temperature issues, sweat soaked sheets, an uncomfortable PnP. I think I have had 2-3 nights of "normal" sleep in the last month and normal was not all that great to start with (only getting up to feed him 2-3 times with no problems putting him back down). Last night was especially bad. He did not want to be put down. And I don't really actually know the cause.

Up until now, DS has been sleeping in a PnP next to my bed. We have the crib set up now. DH put it together a week or two ago, and then I got the sheets together last week. It is on the far end of our room in the bonus space. The first time I put DS in it (this past Saturday), just to play, he thought it was the best thing ever. He was full of smiles for it. That same day he took a nap in it without incident. DH has also had him nap in it without problem. I was planning to move him to the crib on a weekend. I figured it would take some adjustment, probably more for me than him as I will have to physically get out of bed to feed him once he is in the crib. Or honestly, even to check he is OK. So because I thought it would be a bad adjustment period I was going to start it on the weekend when I could sleep in. After last night however, I figure trying the crib can't be any worse.

So he is upstairs right now sleeping in his crib. I hope the mattress is more comfortable than his PnP. I hope that the sheets and mattress protector are better in terms of back sweat (the humidity has been a killer in this regard). I hope he is happy and safe and sleeps better over there, all 20 feet away from me.

And I think its probably pathetic how much I wish he was still sleeping next to me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Married - 6 Years!

 Today is our 6th Wedding anniversary! We had Benjamin's Aunt K babysit for us for a few hours yesterday so we could do something as a couple. It was nice to have some time without a baby to worry about! It is hard to believe it has been six years, but it just shows you how fast time moves.

Baby Notes: Benjamin has now rolled over, from back to front, twice. First on Wednesday night while I was trying to get him to fall asleep, second time on Saturday morning while we were lounging in bed. In the past week he has also really started to notice the cats and laugh when they come over close enough for him to touch. He tried pasta w/tomato sauce and meatballs for the first time this week and of course made a complete mess, but seemed to like it. He took his first nap in his crib this afternoon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Baby Lead Weaning

I have mentioned baby lead weaning a couple of times and I know its not a common phrase here in the U.S., although it is growing. It is a method of introducing babies to food that flies in the face of traditional American knowledge. The phrase itself (weaning) is British, as this process of introducing solids is called weaning in the U.K. So - what is baby lead weaning then and how is it different than the "normal" way of introducing food? I am going to do my absolute best to show both sides and separate the fact and conjecture. That said, as I chose Baby Lead Weaning, that bias is bound to show in this post.

Traditional American knowledge says that you introduce food around 4 months. This is typically started with rice cereal or some other single grain cereal being spoon fed. After this is introduced, parents then are encouraged to add pureed baby foods one at a time - spoon  feeding each food several times before moving onto more variety. [for absolute accuracy just want to add that more recently pediatricians have recognized that 4 months might be too early and many parents wait until 6 months for this entire process to start] Eventually the child should be eating all sorts of purees, and then be introduced to finger foods like teething crackers, cereal, etc. Solids are introduced later (I am not actually sure when), either by phasing them in starting with chunkier purees or other ways (again, I am not sure exactly).. The basic underlying ideas of this traditional approach are (1) the earlier you start babies on solids the more they will grow and better they will sleep (2) you need to introduce foods slowly to make sure babies are not allergic to things and (3) babies will choke if they are given solid foods too earlier. They need to practice with purees first.

In baby-lead weaning, you introduce solid table food when the baby is at least 6 months old, capable of supporting themselves sitting (either on their own or being held by a parent), and capable of bringing items to their mouths.  The food is typically either presented to the baby in large pieces that are easy to grab to begin with, or in soft forms like apple sauce, yogurt, etc. As the baby gets older you can present the food in a wider variety of forms (smaller pieces etc). You never spoon feed the child. They also are in control of when to reduce and give up breast feeding. The basic underlying ideas of baby fed weaning are (1) the baby should be in control of what goes into their mouth (2) babies should eat what the family is eating for the most part, and eat w/the family as part of the family (3) babies are designed to learn to eat solids at their own pace if they are allowed to do so.

Most American parents do not realize there is a decision to be made when it comes to introducing food. The traditional American method is very well engrained in the entire medical system and social structure here. But Baby Lead weaning is not some hippie alternative lifestyle. It is promoted by the National Health System in the UK and other European countries. Because the American method is so well engrained, if you do choose baby lead weaning you get a lot of questions and judgement from other parents (and even pediatricians!).

Won't your baby choke? -
Fact: A 6-8 month old's gag reflex is farther forward on the tongue than older babies and adults. Additionally, the jaw and tongue motions required to move a large piece of food from the front to the back of the mouth are the same motions required for chewing.
Conjecture: The gag reflex being farther forward discourages babies from putting things too far into their mouth and they will not be able to move big bites to the back of their mouth until they learn to chew. The forward gag reflex also gives baby a window of time to learn deal with solids without being as at risk for choking. If they miss this window, and get used to food being swallow-able without chewing, choking would seem more likely.

All babies will have to face a choking hazard at some point. There is no actual research/statistics on whether babies are more likely to choke if they start solids at 6 months or after months of puree at 9 months. The main precautions to take against choking at any age is to make sure the child is sitting upright while eating and that you always watch your child eat.

Aren't you worried about allergies?
Fact: Prior to 6 months, the intestine is not well developed and can have reactions to more types of food than at an older age.
Conjecture: Most of the fears concerning allergies are resultant from people starting babies on solids too early. A four month old may appear to have allergies to something because their intestine is underdeveloped to deal with it rather than because it is an actual allergy.

I guess my basic take away for this question is research shows food should not be introduced until 6 months, whatever method you want to use to introduce it. I cannot speak to the wisdom of avoiding certain foods until a child is older, but if you choose to do this, you can do it under either method of feeding. You also can easily modify baby lead weaning to introduce foods more slowly if you are more comfortable with it.

How do you know he is getting enough/the right things to eat? 
Fact: A study back in the 30s (granted, a long time ago, but as I said the research on this topic is very limited) allowed babies to choose their own foods from among healthy options for one month, and at the end of the month all of the babies had chosen a balanced diet for the course of the month and were healthier than at the beginning of the month. Also, a recent study in the UK showed baby lead weaning resulted in lower childhood obesity than other methods of introducing food.
Conjecture: Babies will crave what their body needs. If given healthy options to eat they will choose what they need. Also, as they are in control of how much they eat, they will learn from a very early age to judge how full they are and reduce over eating for their life.

There is not much research on exactly what babies need when in terms of calories and vitamins at what ages, but in terms of Baby Lead Weaning, as long as the baby is allowed to continue breast-feeding at will, they will be getting enough calories whether they be from food or milk. Regardless of feeding method, vitamin supplements are always an option if you are concerned about it.

And finally, the big question: Why did we choose baby lead weaning? I admit this was more my decision that DHs, though if he were not comfortable with it we would modify it so he was. Anyways, baby lead weaning just makes sense to me. There has not always been blenders and food processors around. Mothers have been living without these things for thousands of years. Clearly when humans were evolving, they had a way to learn to eat solids that did not involve purees. In my mind, this either means something like baby lead weaning was going on, or Alicia Silverstone-esque feedings were happening (eew?). Of course this alone (evolutionary design) is not enough to mean that baby lead weaning is any better than the traditional American approach, but I have not seen any real evidence as to why the traditional American approach is better either. I like the basic theory and ideas behind baby lead weaning. I like that you trust nature and the baby to know how and what to eat. I like that you don't fight the baby to make them eat, or force them to eat. I like the idea that Benjamin is learning about family dinner time and table manners and healthy appetite control without us making any special lessons/allowances. And now that we are actually doing it, I love that it forces us to cook more healthy meals, to sit down and enjoy each others company, and I love how much Benjamin enjoys it. I love that if we are out and about and grab lunch I can just hand Benjamin a chunk of green pepper from my subway sandwich and let him go at it. It really works great for us.

I am not saying baby lead weaning is for everyone, but I do advocate people making an active informed choice about how to introduce solids to their child, and not to just assume that their is only one way.

Monday, July 16, 2012

6 Months Old!

Benjamin turned 6 months old on July 5th! Believe it or not, this posts lateness is intentional. Benjamin finally had his 6 month doctor's appointment today! He is still a healthy growing boy, but his growth has slowed a bit, which I hear is normal for this age range. He measured in at 26 3/4 inches and 18lbs 4.5oz. These measurements are both about 50th percentile. His head on the other hand, or noggin as DH calls it, is 88th percentile. Yep. Giant head. I would be worried if I did not know that it is very genetic. His grandpa and great grandpa both had giant noggins. Seriously, if my dad could get me a picture of him or his father to post on here, that would be great.

I don't have a big list of developments to give you because I have been giving them all as they come, trying to get them recorded somewhere accurately before I forgot. But, the new thing I can mention is I am pretty sure he is actually teething now! Exciting and scary! Still not mobile, but getting so close. He still has not rolled from back to front, and does not seem to have any interest in doing so. He does go from sitting to a position on all fours. He does reach for things, sort of lunging to try and reach them. He has scooted about 2 inches on his belly but not father. He has turned in circles.

Here are some 6 month pics taken by my little sister on our front porch. I did get a couple shots of him holding the 6 month sign, but they are on DHs phone and hard to get on here (we were without a camera for a couple of weeks, but we have one again now, so no worries :) 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Productive Day, Great Night!

Yesterday was pretty darn good!
DH and I spent the day unpacking. DH got the new washer and dryer hooked up so we can start washing everything that has been piling up plus everything that was in storage for 6 months. He also finished assembling the crib so we can start using that any day. (I might even try to have him nap in it today). We got the dresser drawers unpacked and into the dresser and unpacked most of the boxes that were in the living room. In general we just got a lot of unpacking done (though there is STILL loads to do).

 Then around 5pm we packed a bag, through the dog in the car, and headed for my parents house, where we changed Benjamin into his little swim trunks and took him in the pool for the first time. It is not heated so I was worried about the temperature, but with the air temp pushing 100 degrees (at least according to my dad's thermometer, not sure I believe it!), he did not seem to mind the water temp at all! He mainly liked to eat the pool toys, though he also enjoyed kicking and splashing and singing the whale song.

When I started to feel cool I thought Benjamin must as well and we hopped out, dried off, and waited for the rest of the guests and dinner. My BIL and some family friends soon arrived and we sat down to a delicious grilled salmon dinner, then headed outside for a campfire and some good company. (DS went to sleep shortly after dinner and hung out inside while we had the campfire - we wisely remembered to pack the baby monitor!). We had smore's of course, and then just because I was craving it like mad, I cooked a hotdog over the fire and it was SO GOOD. We were hoping to see the northern lights, but gave up around midnight and headed home. Apparently the northern lights started up shortly after we left. Oh well, as Aaron said, we have a lifetime to try again now that we live up here!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Routine

My new day -
6:00am - wake up, feed Benjamin, pump
6:25am - shower and get dressed, dry hair etc
6:45am - come downstairs, pack freezer bag (lunch and pumping stuff) for work, make breakfast, change Benjamin if DH did not have a chance to do it
7:10am - leave the house
7:20am - drop Benjamin off at daycare
7:30am - drive to work
8:00am - start work
10:30am - pump for a half hour in the mother's room at work
2:00pm - pump for a half hour in the mother's room at work
4:30pm - leave work at a full out run if possible!
4:50pm - pick up Benjamin
5:00pm - arrive home, unpack freezer bag, feed Benjamin, start cooking dinner
5:30pm - DH gets home, and he walks the dog
5:45pm - Eat dinner as a family
6:20pm - I give Benjamin a bath while DH cleans up the mess from baby lead weaning
6:40pm - Hang out as a family/playtime
Variable Time (7pm-10pm) - Feed Benjamin and he goes to sleep for the night. Once he is asleep - put away milk into freezer bags, load DW, pack lunch for the next day, do any internet stuff (bills, etc) that needs done, etc. Organize anything that needs done for the next day. If there is time, we have been watching episodes of West Wing on DVD.
Variable Time (10pm-11pm) - I go to bed.
Variable Time (around 11:30) - Feed Benjamin
Variable Time (around 3am) - Feed Benjamin

6am - Get up and start again.

As you can see, a lot of how are evening goes swings on Benjamin going to bed at a decent hour. Pediatricians/research recommends at least 11hrs of sleep overnight for a baby his age. Therefore, him going to bed around 7pm is ideal both for his health, my sleep, and ability to just get what we need to get done. He does tend to go to bed around 7-7:30pm - If we are home. If we are out, even if we get home at 7:45pm, he won't go to bed until well after 9, meaning I have virtually no time to get anything done. The result? It is becoming increasingly important to be home on weeknight evenings (weekends are more flexible since everyone can sleep in!) - which kind of stink sometimes when we are invited to do fun things with my family. Oh well. Guess that's parenthood.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Time is moving very quickly and I do not have much time at all to post, so when I do have time to post I cannot decide what is most important to me. We will see what spills out.

Some things I want to write down about Benjamin before I forget. First time with solids was on Sunday, July 8th - roasted chicken and carrots w/bbq, and sweet potato fries. He liked the chicken for sure, not so much the bbq. He couldn't really figure the carrots out and I think he liked the sweet potato but DH thinks he did not. Since then he has also had red bell pepper, tomato, avocado, hamburger, cucumber, wheat bun, and onion. I would like to post more about baby lead weaning for you all, but not tonight. Other baby stuff - He tried to put his pacifier in my mouth last week and thought it was hilarious when I "ate" his hand instead. In general he has been putting his hand in my mouth recently and laughing if I close my teeth at all on it.  He was laughing socially last night - just laughing because we laughed. He is making friends at daycare and I am informed has a specific boy who is a bit older (12m?) and always makes him laugh. He likes mirrors even more now (though they always were a good way to get him to smile). Still no sign of teeth. Still totally not mobile. Still can't roll from his front to back and does not even seem to try. I think he will get to crawling/mobility from the sitting position. He can practically do a sit up with a little help from hands to grab for leverage.

Work is, well, it changes day to day. Monday was very tedious and frustrating, but Tuesday was decent. Wednesday there was nothing to do, and today was kinda negative. Right now we are "trapped" in a training room with a coworker showing us how to do things. I say trapped because we are beginning to feel like we are under a filter of negativity. The coworker training us is negative about everything - the company, Duluth, the economy, cost of living, anything that comes up he is negative about. Its getting to us. And by we/us I mean the other new trainee K and me. I am hoping once we get out of the training room and on the floor we can start to decide for ourselves what is negative and positive and have a better daily experience.

Benjamin is at daycare for about 9.5 hrs a day. I leave work at 4:30pm exactly and rush down to pick him up. I find delaying this for anything - an errand, talking to someone at the end of the workday, etc, painful. I don't know why the 5-10 minutes matters so much, but I get SO focused on just wanting to go get him and have him with me again its a bit crazy.

Between work, baby, and feeding baby (read pumping), we are not settling into the new house as quickly as I had hoped. Baby is asleep now and I should be unpacking, but I am blogging instead. I just had to switch my lunch/break schedule to accommodate pumping twice during the workday as my output from once a day was dropping.  That means I now have no lunch or breaks EXCEPT when I am pumping. I thought this would be more stressful than it is, but luckily the switch coincided with me returning to reading, and now that I read while I pump, it does not seem so bad.

Finally, the real thing on my mind right now is a woman who I hardly know. I know her through my Columbus Women's message board, on which I am still active. She is losing her baby at 32w pregnant. I can't get her out of my mind and I really wish there was more to do to help. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking an experience it is for her.  I am posting it here is in the hopes it helps get it out of my system. A little omnipotency would help at the moment so I could undue this horrible experience for her. But what can I offer? Just my thoughts I guess.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Busy Times

Boy do I owe you an update! To say things have been a bit crazy around here would be an understatement. Let me run you through the past week.

Thursday - We closed on the house. The morning of closing our bank was still making requests for banking documents (that we felt we had already provided)! It was a bit nerve-wracking! But by 3pm our end was good to go. However the buyers had some issues. First, the husband forgot his wallet and therefore had no picture ID. But the more complicated bit was the flood damage. During the storm I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the river from the golf course near our home broke free (from its culverts) and ran down our new avenue, into our new basement. Apparently it only took this course for a few minutes before diverting town the adjacent street, however it was a whole creek, so a lot of water got in. The sellers did a great job fixing the damage, drying things out, and replacing appliances. They had to put in a whole new boiler and replace a couple parts of the hot water heater. Because they are connected to a construction company, this was done by family members. To the sellers, the fact the new boiler was not paid for was just "I owe my uncle" but to the title company it was a liability, so we had to wait around awhile while they sorted out getting that paid for from the closing profits. It all worked out though in the end!

Friday - DH took work off and started moving stuff, I went to work. Then the real drama. When I got home from work with Benjamin in the car I somehow locked him in the car (with my keys of course). We were at my parents house, 20 minutes at least from DH who had the other car key, 20 minutes at least from any sort of locksmith, police, or fire response. It was just my mom and I and it was 90+ degrees out. It was scary and probably a bit over-dramatic. After unsuccessfully trying to pop the locks by prying the door a bit and sticking in a ruler (turns out the car security system armed itself against this and disabled those unlock buttons... great), we ended up smashing the driver's side rear window in to get him out, but not before trying the driver's window, which would not break for ANYTHING (but is now scuffed etc). Anyways, Benjamin is fine. I do not regret breaking the car to get him out. It cost $200 to replace it, and if you had been there saying "if you give me $200 I will make sure he gets out safe and sound" I would have paid you in a heartbeat.

Saturday - We moved! But in true fashion it turned  bit more complicated, as my father, sister, and BIL had to get hay the same day (heavy labor and 120 minutes of driving involved), and my brother had to work in the morning to fix flood damage. But, we did end up getting all moved! I am very thankful to everyone for helping us.  We stayed in our house for the first time that night, and it was a bit creepy honestly! This is probably really lame, but it did not help that we figured out at 10pm that we did not have the right cord to get our bedroom TV plugged in and I like the noise to go to sleep, so it felt very isolating to not have it with DH downstairs unpacking!

Sunday - We did some unpacking, ran some errands, then went out to dinner with family to thank them for their help, then drove to my older sister's house to pick up her car to borrow as mine had a broken window.

Monday - Back to work! Note, still no food in the house, driving my sister's car, DH taking Benjamin to daycare, felt very off! Also turns out I forgot my ice packs and several bottles at my parents house, so I had to make due in terms of pumping and milk storage!! In the evening I drove DH's car to my parents to pick up stuff we had forgotten... and on the way back into town Aaron's car stopped working. Luckily my dad was able to come help. Luckily it was JUST me running out of gas because the gas gauge is broken. But, it was more stress and drama. Thanks again for the help...

Tuesday - My little sister came and helped me get to work because we dropped my car off at the glass place. No drama really, just another abnormal schedule and more help needed, thanks again family! In the evening DH and I went out to pizza and errands, but we forgot the diaper bag and pretty much everything else baby care related. Luckily we have an awesome baby who did fine at the restaurant playing with my wallet and purse.

Today - trying to unpack a little, but plans were all slowed down because Benjamin is sick. Poor guy has a slight fever, runny nose, cough. Its pathetic and sad. We probably will still go to my parents later, but we are not being very productive!

Other things I want to note
- Benjamin thinks it is hilarious when we carry him up the stairs infront of another person (like with him looking over my shoulder at DH following us, awesome!).
- He loves it when DH tries to teach him to crawl by demonstration
- He wants to eat remotes and cellphones
- He is starting to anticipate something being fun when you repeat it, like DH was counting down 3-2-1 and then "lift off" and giving him a little ride in the air and he would laugh when DH started counting!!