Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I've talked here before about Hana being spirited That discovery made a huge change in our relationship, and in our whole family dynamic. Understanding her personality, her sensitivities and her needs has cut power struggles out of the equation. I'm able to empower her, and to teach her tools she needs to cope with the intensity of her emotions, especially disappointment.

I've also learned the power that water has over my child. I know many people (myself included) who feel a sense of calm and peace when sitting by the water, or who find a hot shower or relaxing bath to be the perfect cure for all their troubles. Hana is the same way.

IF she's having a cranky day, water is the cure. Sitting her in her high chair with a few tablespoons of water on her tray for her to splash in is a powerful cure for a bad day. A shower or bath is like hitting her reset button and getting a second chance at the day. If she's in the middle of a fit and just can not calm down, putting her fingers or toes in cool running water brings her back to her senses.

It's an amazing thing how quickly and easily it calms her. Sure, she (and the floor) get a bit wet every now and then, but honestly that's much easier to deal with than a screaming toddler. It's also something that she'll be able to use herself as she gets older, a tool to help her deal with life.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Simply Living

While living in Calgary I came to the conclusion that Ben and I had far too much stuff - especially for people who had only been married about a year. Our apartment was full, our storage was full, and there always seemed to be something on the floor to trip over.

The odd thing about having all that stuff was that the vast majority of it was not being used. That's not to say it was useless, it just wasn't serving any purpose in our lives.

So I did what any rational person would do - packed it away and ignored it until we moved and I had to do something about it.

Since then we've taken on a philosophy of simple living - trying very hard not to have excess, to reuse as much as possible, to buy second hand when available, and to purge as needed.

It basically goes like this - if I see something I *think* we need, we wait a month or so to see if we can still happily live without it, or if it really would make our lives better. This is a great way to avoid spending money on gadgets.

Secondly, if I notice something in our home is just taking up space, I box it up and put it in storage. If it stays in storage for a year without being missed and doesn't have any future use (such as books and toys for Hana when she's older), then it's already conveniently boxed up and ready to go to Goodwill etc.

Thirdly, we get accountability with our "problem areas" - for me it's yarn and books, and for Ben it's electronics and games. There are very strict rules about those things coming into the house, usually involving a bit of "one in, two out" philosophy. It's hard - especially for books because in my family it was basically a crime to get rid of a book - but it does keep things under control a bit.

I admit we're not perfect at this yet, but we're learning. Even right now I'm looking at our tower of rarely watched DVDs and wondering if it's time to clean house a bit. Anyone else have any tips on how to avoid excess in life and keep it simple?

Friday, May 23, 2008


Right now Hana is sitting in her high chair feeding herself yogurt. With a spoon.

I'm amazed. It's hard to believe that two years ago I was just starting to wear maternity clothes. That in such a short period of time not only have I become a parent, but that my child - that tiny being that started out too small to even see - is a person. A whole person, full of ideas, desires, emotions.

She's so independent now. She won't let us carry her up or down the stairs, or anywhere else for that matter. She always wants to "go walk". And she does go, she's fearless, once she gets the ok that she can explore she takes off and finds out everything she can about her environment.

She has wants and makes them clear. When they're not filled, she gets upset and expresses that, and then moves on to something else. When she wants help she asks for it. When she's excited about something she shares it with us.

I'm so amazed at how much she's grown and how quickly she learns. She's not a baby anymore, no longer fully dependent on me. But she's still mine, still needs her mama when she can't get back to sleep in the middle of the night, or when she feels like a snuggle in the middle of the day. As she grows our bond is changing, but it's still there, and still makes my heart sing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Poked and Proded

Hana and I each had Dr appointments today.

She did great, she got 3 vaccinations, was weighed, measured and checked over. She did great with the vaxes, even cried less than I would have! She is now a whopping 21lbs3oz! Yeah, not so whopping. She's tiny - healthy and active, but tiny.

My appointment went well too. Baby is head down! That's just one more thing that makes this pregnancy so different from Hana's - she was breach the entire time. Everything looks great and I go back in two weeks. The only real concern now is getting my records from Alberta sent. We've been trying to get them since February and so far we have nothing. Not so good - they need my surgery notes.

So it was a big morning and we slept a good chunk of the afternoon. Hopefully the grogginess from the vaxes comes back and Hana won't be up all night!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Anti-bacterial products make me sick

Ben and I were away this weekend, which means we had TV. We don't have cable at our house, and aside from the news and Ben's games, our tv is never on. So when I do get to watch TV, the thing that sticks out to me the most is the adds.

I noticed a theme. Anti-bacterial products. From those Lysol wipes to a product that cleans the germs out of the s-curve in your toilet (so your waste doesn't get sick?) to a germ-killing pest control product (that's right! Those harmless (yet annoying) insects are carrying germs!!!!).

I have to say, these products make me a little nervous. Personally, I have no anti-bacterial products. Nope, not even a little bottle of hand sanitizer for the diaper bag.

When I need to wash, I use soap and water. If I'm being paranoid about potentially harmful things (like raw meat - eeeww!!!!) I use vinegar. If it's just general nastyness and not something that would make my family sick, I use dish soap (we trust it to get the icks off dishes (including raw meat) so why not other icks?)

The problem I have with all this anti-bacterial crazyness is that the bacteria we're trying to hard to kill has been around at least as long as we have. We've learned to co-exist. Sure, there are occasions where something gets out of hand, but for the most part so long as we're not being stupid (like eating raw chicken) they don't really pose a threat.

There is a need for exposure to germs - it gives the immune system a little kick and makes sure everything is working well, so that if we're exposed in large doses we're less likely to get sick. That's the basic premise behind vaccinations - a little exposure now to guard against a lot of exposure later.

Aside from that, there are good bacteria. There's also a craze right now for pro-biotics. They're in everything lately it seems. Thats because all these measures we're taking against getting sick end up killing the good bacteria that keep us from getting sick.

There really is no need to be so worried about germs. Aside from special circumstances (like hospitals) all this extra stuff can actually be harmful - and at the very least causes paranoia! Don't believe the marketing - there is no need for this stuff!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

To sleep, perchance to dream

If good writers write what they know, then I should be the last person on earth writing about sleep.

Since high school I've gone through phases of insomnia - weeks at a time where I just don't sleep. It's not that I'm not tired, or that I don't try to sleep, it just doesn't work. I've learned to deal with it and when it happens I sleep when I can, but it isn't easy.

Even when insomnia isn't an issue I have a hard time sleeping. My nights are filled with tossing and turning. I'm blessed to have a husband who sleeps like the dead (or rather, he's blessed with that ability), otherwise there would definitely be issues with our relationship. A good night for me means I don't actually get out of bed. A typical night means it takes about an hour to fall asleep, I wake up and change position about 4 times (taking about 15 minutes to get back to sleep each time), and I'm out of bed once (either a potty break or just getting up until I feel tired again).

So it is no real surprise to me that Hana has "sleep issues". Even now at 18 months it's rare for her to go from midnight to 7 without at least one wake up (tho she usually puts herself back to sleep), never mind going a whole 12 hours without me going in at least once.

Now, being pregnant, I have to get out of bed at least once a night and trying to get comfortable seems like an impossible task. Hana is cutting her eye teeth (two through, two to go!) and so has been needing me at least once a night, sometimes twice. She's also started a lovely habit of being wide awake for two or more hours in the early morning.

So we're tired here. Very very tired. This weekend I'm really hoping to get two nights of uninterruptedish sleep and hopefully that will make the next few weeks easier.

I guess the good news is that waking up with a newborn won't really throw me off my routine too much and shouldn't be that hard to deal with.

Wet Wet Wet

Last Sunday night, or early Monday morning rather, I awoke to a familiar sound. Hana was whimpering and moving around in her bed. She wasn't crying, and I could tell she was trying to put herself back to sleep, so I tried to do the same.

Then I noticed there was something different from other nights I had woken to her whimpering. IN the midst of the noises, she was saying "wet".

Now let me tell you something about Hana that she will probably wish I didn't share once she's older - this girl pees like a fountain. We've had to put her in disposable diapers at night because she pees so much it was waking her up. We cut back on liquids, and she was able to stay drier through the day, but at night she'd still be soaked.

So I was preparing myself for a wet child, but sort of figured she was just practicing her new word in her sleep. I went in to check, and she was on her belly, bum in the air, trying to sleep. I rubbed her back and her bum and both we dry. Excellent.

Before I went back to bed I checked to see if she had her soother, she didn't, so I thought I'd pat around the bed looking for it.

My hand went into a puddle. I checked around some more. The whole front of Hana's pj's, the bed and her blankets were all soaked. And she was trying very hard to get back to sleep.

In fact she wanted so much to be asleep that she got quite upset with me for trying to change her. Have you ever tried to get a sleeper off a child while they're curled on their belly in the fetal position? Getting the new diaper on was also a bit of a struggle. Apparently she didn't want me to do anything about the "wet", she just wanted to let me know what was going on.

Needless to say, she spent the rest of the night in bed with us, and I will never again underestimate the power of a child's bladder.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Breastfeeding Is Smart

A recent study has been over the news lately stating that breastfeeding leads to a higher IQ.

We all know "breast is best" for both mama and baby, and the more we get this information out, the better.

Still, I have a problem with how this study is being publicized.

Keep in mind that Hana has been formula fed since the day after she was born, and exclusively on formula since 19 days old. I was also formula fed, as were the vast majority of the people in my family. And we're pretty smart people (In high school I tested 136 on an IQ test, but that was before mommy hood stole my brain). This is not intended to make anyone feel guilty, or whatever. We make our choices and we live with them, and we all survive.

The problem I have is that the wording makes it seem as though formula feeding is the norm, the standard. As in, normally baby x would have an IQ of ***, but if breastfed, it would be higher. That's wrong. Human babies are designed to have human milk. All the potential within that child will be released as different conditions are met - food, shelter, love, education, whatever. It's not that breastfeeding raises that potential, it's that formula feeding lacks something that would release it. Breast milk doesn't raise IQ, formula lowers it.

Again, not saying formula fed children are not smart, they're just not as smart as they could be were they breastfed. Like an athlete - if they aren't given the proper training and instruction, they can't preform at the level they would if they did have those things.

I find it astounding that as a culture we have effectively stunted ourselves - but there is no sense guessing at what could have been. Unfortunately, as long as formula is seen as the norm (or at least the norm after x amount of months) we will never see the full potential of our children. To continue talking about breastfeeding as tho it is super human, special, or above the norm only reinforces that it isn't the norm. Mothers have enough stress and worry and choices with their children, so if their kids can be "normal" without the pain, hassle and stress of breastfeeding (because honestly that's what it often is portrayed as, and can feel like at first), then why put themselves through it? Breastfeeding really should be normalized, not specialized.

Wedded Bliss

Ben and I have been married 3 years today.

In that time we have experienced two cross country moves, found our first apartment and our first house, and have owned two cars. We have changed jobs ten times. We've gone through a crisis, an emotional breakdown, and a big change of plans. We've had one child and are working on our second. He has learned to say know and I've learned to listen. He's learned to raise his voice and I've learned to lower mine. We've learned how to communicate, how to play, how to laugh and how to live in small spaces together.

Ben is the most wonderful husband I could ever have dreamed of. He's strong, caring, understanding and always respectful. He loves me with his whole self in a way that I never knew I could be loved. He's an amazing father, a reliable provider, and let me pick the paint colours for the house. I love him will all I am and look forward to the rest of our lives together.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

18 Months

My baby is 18 months old. And she finally (almost) fits into 18 month clothing. I've packed away all of her 9 month pants and most of her 6 and 9 month shirts. Yeah, she's pretty little. I'm guessing around 23lbs, but we have an appointment this month, so I'll find out for sure.

Her vocabulary impresses me, altho anyone who knows me isn't surprised - she comes by her talkative nature honestly. She is also so curious and loves exploring and trying new things. She is always on the go. No matter what we're doing, after a few minutes she'll look at me full of excitement and say "go?" before heading off to explore.

In the last month she has encountered play dough, mud, grass, slides, swings and rain. She's loved every minute of it. We we outside one day and it started raining - the icky cold kind of rain. I said it was time to go in, she looked at me as if I was crazy. So I laughed and said she was a little duck. Her response: "quack quack"

The most wonderful thing she's learned in the last month is how to sleep. We've even had a few nights where I haven't had to get up with her at all. There are times it takes more effort than I like to admit to get her to go to sleep, but the 3-5 wakings seem to be slowing down.

Hana is the most animated, expressive, caring child I've encountered. She lights up my day and fills it with laughter. She teaches me a different way to look at the world, shows me new things to get excited about, and reminds me how wonderful it is to just sit and snuggle with someone you love. We learn more from her every day, and couldn't be more blessed as parents.