Sunday, 11 September 2016

Five Grief Stages of Breastfeeding Cessation

Although things were going surprisingly well, I attended a breastfeeding support group when Kate was only four days old. I think I needed validation that we were doing things right, or I wanted to know what to do if things stopped going well, but mostly, after being holed up in a hospital room for three days, I just wanted to get out of the house. There was another mother whose baby was only a few days older than Kate. She only shared a few details of her birth event, but I knew it was not exactly what she was expecting. I got the sense that she wanted to do an all natural, possibly a home birth, but ended up with a C/section and her baby needed to be in the NBICU for a few hours after birth. Her recovery had been hard and she was still in a lot of pain. Breastfeeding was quite challenging. Her baby wasn't latching well, they were trying SNS, nipple shields, everything. She was pumping, but producing very little. It seemed to be another layer of disappointment for her.        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              About two months later, I started attending the New Parents group and I ran into her again. She was talking with the nurse who led our classes about her breastfeeding struggles. While I was trying not to eavesdrop, I couldn't help catch a bit of their conversation. The nurse was gently suggesting that maybe it was time to move on from breastfeeding, and she offered some suggestions to help her with this transition. I was glad I overheard her, as her words helped me when I had to stop nursing and pumping. Here's the advice she gave adapted into the Five Grief Stages of Breastfeeding Cessation.

1. Appreciation
Be thankful for the time you spent breastfeeding your baby; no matter how long or short it was. There are many women who want to breastfeed, but aren't able to do so. 5-10% of new mothers will not produce enough milk to nourish their newborns. Some women have had prior breast surgeries including cancer treatment that prohibits nursing. Women with infections such as HIV are restricted from breastfeeding.  Schitzophrenic mothers have to forgo breastfeeding due to their psych medications, which prevent them from decompensating. Some babies don't latch well. Frenulums may be tight, or a cleft palate may be present. Adoptive mothers or women whose babies are delivered by a surrogate may not have the opportunity to breastfeed. As paid maternity leave is not guaranteed in the United States, some women must return to work as soon as six weeks after their baby was born, sometimes even sooner. Some women may not respond well to a pump and will lose their milk supply. Despite laws to protect a woman's right to breastfeed in the workplace; sometimes it's simply not feasible. Only a small percentage of women in the United States continue breastfeeding to their baby's one year mark. Don't whine about only nursing for 11 months.

2. Acknowledgement
"Feeding your baby is the most important thing" the nurse said, "How you feed your baby and what you feed your baby are just details." I've often reminded my patients that formula fed babies turn out very well. My Husband wasn't breastfed and he has a PhD in computational chemistry. I had to follow my cues from Kate. She was just as satisfied by her bottle of formula as she was with a bottle of breast milk. As long as I was available to cuddle and snuggle with her, she wasn't bothered by the fact that we weren't nursing. It may have been the development of two more teeth, but she seemed to advance her self feeding and really moved away from purees and started eating more solid foods. I've often noted that other animals in nauture breastfeed for a very short duration. Although other species are much more mature and developmentally advanced than humans; their mammas know that their babies survival is dependant on their ability to hunt and feed themselves. As Kate could now walk, grab things with her hands and bring it to her mouth and chew; she was ready to move on. It was time for me to be ready too.

3. Anticipation
"What are some of the things you can feel excited about doing after breastfeeding?" the nurse asked. For me, it was some of the little things. I could wear what I wanted, when ever I wanted. I no longer needed to live in my nursing tanks. I could wear a dress out in public without worrying about flashing my bits if she needed to nurse. I could sleep through the night without feeling guilty that I didn't wake up to pump. We no longer needed to spend 45 minutes each night washing my five sets of pump parts and packing my pump bag. No more worrying about forgetting my pump bag at home, which happened on three occasions. The first time Husband had to drop off my bag, he was very sweet and even brought me a coffee. The third time, he was really pissed and became more angry when he got stuck in traffic on his way home and was late for a Web-Ex conference.

The first time I went to work deliberately leaving the pump bag at home, my shoulder felt so much lighter, and it wasn't just because of the weight of the bag during my climb up two flights of stairs from the parking garage to the office entrance. I didn't have to worry about trying to fit in a morning pumping session in between patients. I no longer had to miss lunchtime interviews with prospective candidates because I needed to pump. I wouldn't have to strip down and hope that everyone would respect the 'do not enter' sign on the lockless door to the quiet room. Oh, I'm sure I flashed the window washers, some construction workers and various flight paramedics (the room I used overlooks the helipad landing).

Mostly I felt a weight lifted from being relieved of the pressure of pumping. I didn't have to worry about how many ounces I would produce; fear I might spill some or forget to refridgerate or leave the milk at work (which miraculously, never happened) While I appreciated that he was involved; it would bug me when Husband would ask me how much I pumped and then would do the math to let me know how much I needed to fill her day care bottles each day and possibly have some left over for the freezer. While he never said anything to put pressure on me, I resented feeling like I had to meet my quota. While fortunately, I haven't had any occasion to use it, but the next time I get a cold; I am so taking pseudophederine!

4. Celebration
The nurse suggested doing something that she couldn't do before as a way of celebrating the end of breastfeeding. Perhaps going out for Mexican food and having a margarita. As I had often consumed alcohol and followed the one hour rule, I had something else in mind. I went out and got botox injections. My previous session was about a month before Kate's embryo transfer. "We're not actively trying, but we're not preventing anything. We're open to the idea." I told the anestetician who asked if I were planning a pregnancy, just because it was fun to say. It was even funnier as I had started my lupron injections that morning. This time, I knew that I could take advantage of their complimentary re-tocuh after two weeks.

5. Commeration
The nurse's final piece of advice to the new mother was to purchase a special necklace that would allow her to reflect on her breastfeeding memories when she looked at it. While I haven't ordered it yet, there is a woman who can make a necklace with a drop of your breastmilk. I completed my final pumping session on the night of my botox injections so I would have some for this purpose.

About a month later, I discovered there is a sixth stage of grief. I was getting dressed for the gym and for the first time post-pregnancy, I realised that my breasts now looked the same as they did pre-pregnancy. My immedicate response was to be thankful that they did return to my previous state without any stretch marks, enlargened areolas or deflated looking skin (or at least it hasn't taken affect, yet) When I arrived at the gym, I saw a 28 week pregnant woman with her perky cleavage just bursting out of her top, reminding me what I no longer had. I commiserated with a friend who is a fellow A-cup. "Sorry Jane, somethings just aren't meant to last."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Sunday, 21 August 2016

13.5 Months

After Kate reached one year, I was planning to write an update every three months. I knew that her growth and development would slow down a bit and I figured that I would be pressuring myself to turn out monthly monotonous reports. Yet I often found myself making mental notes; 'I should include this in her next up date' or taking photos for a post. I decided that since I'm really writing these updates for myself, I would aim for every six weeks. As tedious as it can feel at times, I really appreciated having these posts when I was preparing her baby books, and as time seems to be flying by so quickly, I enjoy looking back and reliving my memories. What I want to capture from this point in her life is that she's starting to become so affectionate. She'll walk over to me with her little arms outstretched and if I squat to become closer to her, she'll wrap her arms around my shoulders and give me the sweetest hug. It feels like my heart could burst. Some times, she'll bury her head into my shoulder, which is the best thing in the world. Less charming memories; breaking my glasses. 

Stats: 22 lbs 4 oz  29.25 inches

Teeth: Proud owner of 6 teeth. Four on top, two on the bottom. I suspect she'll cut the next two on the bottom right when she reaches 14 months, if she's keeping up with her 2 month teething schedule.

Hair: Her hair is growing longer and thicker in the back. I can finally brush it and can even get it to flip up a bit at the end, a la Cindy Lou Whoo. We're worried that she may have inherited her father's hairline as she's still pretty bald on top.

Sleep: We are so fortunate as she's a rock star sleeper. I'm so thankful every day she [and we] sleep through the night as I know a sleep regression could be right around the corner. We [I've] been working on putting her down in the 'drowsy, but awake' state so she can put herself to sleep. She usually does in about twenty minutes. There is crying when I leave the room, but a few minutes later she'll settle and I can hear her babble to herself. She's not as reliable about going down easily for her naps, so I've resorted to putting her in the jogging stroller and walking around our block to get her to sleep at times. When I do put her down in her crib, she's on her front and she'll cross her legs underneath herself, sticking her butt up in the air. It's very sweet. 

Eating: I think she's finally grasped the concept of Baby Led Weanig and she's now like; "BLW? Where have you been all my life?" She wants to eat herself and does not want to be spoonfed my purees anymore. In fact, she's discovered how to shake her head when she doesn't want something. Oddly, she seems to prefer picking foods out of a container, than having everything placed on the tray in front of her. Even when we're at home, I discovered serving her bite sized pieces in a small tuperware container makes the feeding process more efficient. She has also lost interest in squeeze packets, which is really irritating, as I've been making pouches with my own purees. (Yes, I've become that Mom.) I purchased the Inferno squeeze pouch filling stations, which reminds Husband of the multi-vial set up for a lethal injection. Nice thoughts while you're making food for your daughter. Anyway, I have several pouches stored in our freezer, so I hope she takes to them again. As I stopped pumping on the night before her first birthday, it helped me to be filling the freezer with packets as we started working though my supply of frozen breast milk. Fortunately, Kate had no problem transitioning to cow's milk, and I've been giving her 1-2 bottles of breastmilk per day (if I remember to defrost some). I'm dreading the day I discover the last bag of breastmilk. Would it be really wierd if I kept one bag in our freezer forever? 

On one hand, it's a bit of a relief as I don't have to spend extra hours during meal prep making purees and packets, but I do have to chop up veggies and foods for her to eat during the week. Fortunately, I discovered these 'protein blend' bags of frozen vegtables. I just toss it in the microwave and fill her containers. She loved the Thai seasoning blend, but when I offered the Southwest inspired version, she just picked out the black beans. sigh.  Nonetheless, we're getting closer to having her eat what we eat. My Dad and I went to brunch with her and feed her from our plates and she gobbled it right up. We gave her some left over salmon and she loved it, hamburger not so much, but she did take to my homemade Mongolian beef. Sometimes it can be hit or miss. Something that she loved one night, she'll refuse the next night and will send us back to square one trying to find something to give her. She can now actually eat raw green beans, which confirms that she is defniately my daughter, as I only eat raw green beans. Seriously, cooking then ruins their natural deliciousness (in my opioion). I eat them raw as a snack and as a side dish with meals. Going to the Farmer's Market is so much more fun with her, now that she can sample the produce and to my surprise, I discovered that she can eat a whole strawberry.  I've been trying to introduce using a spoon on Tuesday and Saturdays, while feeding her yoghurt. If you load the spoon for her, she can figured out putting in her her mouth, but she can't quite scoop with it. Often, she'll hold the spoon upside down and dip the end in the yoghurt, then touch it with her fingers. This leads to the idea that she could just use her fingers to eat her yoghurt. She finishes with yoghurt all over her face, as if she's trying a facial mask. Good thing Tuesday and Saturdays are also her bath nights. 

Likes: I really want to document some of these, as they are so perculiar. Opening the refridgerator door captured her curiosity one day, and she discovered my plastic lemon and limes. A lot of Paleo and Whole 30 recepites call for fresh lemon or lime juice. Get real! I'm a working mom, so store bought lemon and lime juice will work just fine. Plus, Kate is fascinated with them. Whenever the fridge door is open, she rushes over to grab the lemon, lime or sometimes both. We're figuring that one day she'll accidently drink some of the juice and that will end the obsession with the plastic lemons and limes. 

She's also obsessed with bags. It started with carrying around her bottle or snack bag, then she got a hold of a cloth shopping bag and started walking around the house collection toys and other small items (the remote control, her shoes) into the bag. I could be in real trouble. I'm missing the girlie gene that makes you like purses and shoes. While I was a student (we're talking since high school through my mid-twenites) I just carried my wallet and other personal items in my ruck sack. When I started interviewing for a real job, Myrtle feared (probably accurately) that I show up to an interview with my worn-out back pack on my shoulder, so she bought me a nice simple back purse. I used that purse for the next eight years. The pull of the zipper broke so I replaced it with a safety pin. The inside lining had riped and I hand repaired it three times. Finally I releted and bought a replacement purse at a conseignment shop back in 2010 and I've been usting that purse ever since. It's a real Burburry and cost $75, which I still thought was a lot for a purse. Then I remembered that one of my former colleagues was so excited that she successfully bid on a [I can't remember the designer's name] purse and won it for $500. "Is it a magic purse?" I asked. 

I confess that I have a bad habit of leaving shoes lying around the house. The thing is, I can usually remember where I've put them, so I find it annoying when I look in all my usual spots, only to discover that husband put them in the closet. Shoes are not safe with Kate as she'll pick them up and move them to an entirely different spot. Like the time I couldn't find my swimming flip flops, only to discover them in our laundry hamper. 

Were you looking for these?

Our latest solution for cheap and easy entertainment is to play 'Couch Cushions'. I discovered this while cleaning one day, and it led to a regular activity. Just thow the middle cushion on the floor and she can climp the different levels of the couch. Double bonus: we can watch the Olympics while she plays! Our household rule is that the only time we have the TV on in front of her, is for sports. The morning version of this game is called 'Pillows'. We'll toss the decorative pillows on the floor and let her climb over them. It gives us a few extra minutes in bed. 

I can't stop her from playing with the remote, 
so I've resorted to turning around the batteries.

Myrtle gave her this picnic basket, as littled Myrtle loved it. 
It has special meaning to me, as little Myrtle and I played with her toy weeks before my transfer.
I was wondering if I'd ever have my own baby to play with.

"More Coffee, Damn You!"
Yeah.. letting her play with my travel mug was a bad idea 

Dislikes: I can't think of anything specific that she doesn't like, other than the usual, getting her face wiped, diaper changed or going to bed. Probably the biggest thing she doesn't like is being told that she can't do something perfectly reasonable like sit in front of the open freezer door. As she seems to be developmentally advanced in her motor skills, I'm thinking we'll hit the terrible twos early. Part of me admires her defiance and fierce determination not to let anyone tell her 'no'! I'm sure those skills will help her succeed in life, but for right now? I don't give a shit how much you're yelling and crying, you still can't wash your hands in the cats' water bowl! 

Diapering: As I was looking back at my prior posts, I found it curious that Kate has been wearing Size 3 Pampers since she was 4 month old and weighed only 15 pounds. According to the box, Size 3 can go from 16-28 pounds, but Size 4 starts at 22 pounds and goes up to 37. Just as I had opened a new box of Size 3, she started leaking at night for three consecutive nights. Previously, she had only had two leaks. Once, when she woke up around 5 AM, both husband and I thought the other person had changed her. She feel asleep after nursing and as it must have been on a weekend, she slept until 8 AM and leaked all over our bed. The other time, I think her diaper just wasn't properly fastened when we were getting her ready for bed. We bought a box of Size 4 to use at night, but still leaked. Then I learned about Over Night diapers. They don't seem to be any thicker, so I'm not sure what makes them better, but I don't care how they work. I just know we've been leak-free for over a week now. 

We're still using cloth during the day, and I'm not sure why, but I felt it was a big deal to make it to one year in cloth. My only complaint with our diaper service, is that they tie the diaper bags with a twist tie. Thanks for the chocking hazzard every week! 

Milestones: She is getting steadier and faster on her feet, which brings the question: at one point do we let her walk out in public? I know it somewhat depends on where we are and how many other people are around, but for some strange reason I feel I'm not ready for that. At least carrying her in the Bjorn or pushing her in the pram allows me to keep her safe. Sigh. This is the first step of letting go. 

She has been using the sign for milk. I know what you're thinking as you're reading. Jane, haven't you been going on about her making the milk sign since she was eight months old? Yes, but rather than using it randomly (or signalling for me) she uses the milk sign when she wants her bottle of milk! She's also figured out how to use the 'more' sign while she's eating. It's so amazing to feel like I am actually communicating with her. She is still making the sign for cow...but uses it for the cats. Palm to face... I think we may re-take a sign class. 

Although it's not listed in the Denver Developmental chart, her other milestone would have made my late grandfather proud. She was playing on the floor in the kitchen, while I was eating my breakfast/reading random crap in the internet. She started motioning to the Baby Mum-Mum on the table, so I opened it up and offered her a piece. However, she was more interested in the wrapper. I gave it to her, figuring it would be good for her dexterity to remove the cracker from the wrapper. Once I saw that she was eating it, I retruned my attention to Facebook. Then I looked up to see her opening the drawer to the garbage and she was attempting to throw the wrapper in the trash. [Well actually it was the recycling bin, but we'll teach her that later] I would later learn that a few days earlier my dad held her and showed her how to throw a wrapper in the trash, still it was a proud moment. 

Activities: Remember how I once said that I never wanted to participate in those Mummy and Baby groups that involve sitting around and singing? What was I thinking when I signed us up for a baby music class? Well, I had an underlying alterative motive. Years ago, I heard an interview with Sting, who was speaking about his experience as a music teacher.  He described that it is such a mistake for school boards to cut music programs from their cirrculum as the lessons leaned in music education translate to language, science and math classes. I'm signing and dancing so she can be smart. 
Actually, it's a really good class. The instructor is excellent and she teaches basic music competence, so I don't mind sitting around in a circle and singing if there is a purpose to it. There is a woman in the class who I met during my days of attending the breastfeeding support group, so it's nice to feel that I'm on the 'Mom' circuit. I signed us up for a 10 week session in Autumn,  but I'm not sure how much longer we'll continue with it, as the classes are a but pricey compared to other activities we've done. It just so happens, that the class is near the pool, and she'd ready for a nap when the class ends, which is just in time for the noon swim class. Sometimes she'll sleep through the class for me, a few times my coach has helped feed her lunch while I swim, and othertimes, she goes into full blown meltdown mode. I haven't figured out how to coordinate with her to meltdown during an IM day.

Speaking of swimming, I started taking Kate to "Parent and Child" drop-in swim sessions. I had been kicking myself for not starting sooner, as the pool is less than a mile from our house and is open year round. Yet, I found it to be a little disappointing. When we arrived, the organizer described that the parents walk around with their babies, there are floating toys to play with and instructors are available if you have any questions. Um, when do we do kicking drills? What is our main set? So not exactly what I had in mind. However, without any hesitation, I wore my goggles in the pool and I didn't feel the slighest bit self conscious.

Health Issues: I had to take Kate with me to a swim meet and she fell off a concrete step and received a small scrap on her head. I should mention what we were doing at a swim meet. My coach sent me a text asking if I wanted to make my return to swimming at an upcoming meet. A long course metre meet. I haven't been in a pool since our meet last October. I think she knew that I was just crazy enough to do such a thing and would start swimming again, It's what makes her such a great coach, she knows how to motivate someone like me and then can coach our young fast swimmers to a Masters world record in the 4 x 100 m redley relay (true story). Anyway, the scrap healed quickly, it just was very prominent on her little bald head. She also had another ear infection, which brings her total to three. I'm trying not to focus on the fact that she only had one ear infection during the first eleven months of her life while she was breastfeed and she's now had two since we've stopped. 

Bacon makes everything better;
even a bump on the head.

Looking forward to: We're going back east next month. Not quite sure I'm looking forward to flying back and forth with Kate by myself! Wish us luck!

Friday, 5 August 2016

An Affair to Remember

After searching high and low for shoes to compliment the dress;
They stayed on for all of five minutes...

I have to admit that prior to parenthood, I didn't understand the rationale behind having a one year birthday party. After all, the guest of honour is largely unaware of the purpose for the event and won't likely remember it. Co-worker explained her motivation for holding a party for her twins first birthday was really to celebrate herself and her husband. "We wanted to commerate that we kept the boys alive for an entire year without killing each other in the process." I started to view the first birthday party with the same approach I had for our baby celebration non-shower: this is our first any only baby. I didn't want to look back and regret not having a first birthday celebration. I started mulling with ideas just before she turned nine months. It would be a small gathering. Just my aunt and uncle, cousin and her kids, Co-worker and her twins and my friend Amy and her two kids. I have no idea how moms manage a large affair, as this small event was so much work! Seriously, planning and preparing this party felt like I had a second job. While Husband does his share with child care duties, I discovered that I would be on my own for party-planning. Husband is just not going to give thoughts to themes, invites, decorations, party favors, menu ideas...

The largest project was addressing our badly neglected shit hole of a back yard. The last time I raked up dried grass and leaves was the day before my Kate was born, and I don't think anyone else has done any work in the garden since then. My aim was to make the area at least look tidy. I knew that after all my hours of effort, it would still look like shit. I had to bargain with Husband to get gardening time on the weekend (funny that whenever he has a task to do, it's assumed that he'll get kid free time) and I spent about 30-45 minutes in the evenings after Kate went to bed. I eventually needed to take a day off from work to complete my projects (and of course, it rained that morning).

I'm not going to show any before and after picture of the backyard, as the 'after' picture, still looks like a 'before'. Over the course of three weeks, I filled 32 of these lawn and leaf bags!

The other rationale for having a bunch of people to your house, it that is serves as an excuse to make some necessary updates. We had to get rid of this chair as the cats had clawed the shit out of it. 

We replaced it with another chair from Ikea. A faux leather, which hopefully will be more resistant to kitty claws. We also added a standing lamp, figuring it would be safer than a table lamp. 

We decided to get another one to go on the other side of the room. 

Don't you love the end table? Actually, when we moved out to California, we bought a sofa and love seat set plus a coffee table, two end tables and two lamps and some decorative pillos for just unfer two thousand dollars. The cats destroyed the sofa and we bought a new sofa and love seat just before my in-laws came to visit in 2013. We couldn't find any end table and coffee tables that we liked, so we've been stuck with our old ones that don't match the curent furnature and with glass, are a safety hazzard. We got rid of all the old tables and lamps...

and replaced it with a new table and lamp from Ikea.

The other item that we needed to remove was the entertainment unit, as it also had glass doors...

we installed child locks on the new unit.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Books were put on display as part of the party decorations. 

The KATErpillar. A collection of her monthly photos

I spent many hours completing her baby books. No one looked at them

The Menu:
Apples (served with peanut butter)
Two Pears (display)
Three Plums (display)
Strawberries (with Nutella)
Orange Slices
A jar of pickles
Cheese and Salami
One lollipop (display)
Cherry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
A Nice Green Spinach Leaf Salad
Chocolate cupcakes

TVHC Food Table tents. Delivered by Etsy

I set up this little bowling alley as we have a long hallway in the front entrance. No one really played with it. The kids were much more interested in the shit hole of our back yard.

Cupcake Fail #2 

So remember by first attempt to make my own cupcakes? After I relented and realised I had to go to a professional baker, I still wanted them to represent the party's theme and didn't want to pay an outrageous price. I found these edible stickers on Amazon, (as I write this, I recognise how short sighted I was. Seriously Jane, just because you can order everything in the world on Amazon, it doen't mean it's always a good thing) but when I met with the baker, she explained that they couldn't put them on for me, as it was against their company policy (clue #2). The baker gave me a little instruction on how to apply them, and as you can see, there was space reserved for them. I followed the instruction that I received, (which guaranteed the stickers would pop right off the wax paper backing) and used the advice of the baker. They didn't come off the paper cleanly and it was a total fucking mess. I served the cupcakes as they were and no one gave a shit about how they looked as they were absolutely delicious. Kate really didn't get the idea of the cupcake and just dipped her fingers in the frosting, which was rather lady-like. 

One of my big worries for the day, besides the usual last minute preparations, was making sure Kate had a good nap in the morning. We didn't let her fall back to sleep after she woke up at 6 AM, and then put her down for her nap around 10 AM. My aunt stopped by that morning with my older cousin, who was visiting from Washington state and was on her way to the airport. They woke up Kate, who barely slept for 45 minutes. I feared this would set her up for a meltdown right in the middle of the party, but despite being so tired, she pushed through and I think she enjoying having so many visitors. Our guests seemed to mingle well and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were compliments on the food and yes, some noticed how much effort I had put into arranging the event. (I was up until midnight hanging decorations and arranging the table) Her first birthday party was a family success. However, it was not without some hiccups. 

As I hinted earlier, I found that I was doing most of the work for this party, so I gave one job to Husband -buy the sausages. As he would be grilling them, I figured he could be in charge of all things related to the sausages. Well, he bought way more than we needed (Co-worker stashed some in the freezer before he cooked them all) and he bought eight different types of sasuage. You can't keep track of which ones are which when you cook eight differnet types of sasuage at once, so no one had any idea what they were eating. (Face palm. SMH) While I was shopping for the rest of the food, Husband was supposed to be cleaning. I was gone for almost three hours and he spent most of that time hanging our framed professional photos. This included hanging a collage in our room where we were planning to confine the cats during the party. How is it that men can pick the task with the lowest priority and devote the maximum amount of time to that chore? I was so pissed as he ended up doing a half ass job cleaning, but given that the house needed to be cleaned again after the party; in hind sight, I was glad he hadn't spent too much effort cleaning before the party. (Although I do suspect he spent much of his time while I was out either working or watching football). 

There was something else to make the party memorable. While I was at work the next day, our ENT department had a pot luck party for a doctor who was leaving the group. I don't usually partake in a pot luck if I didn't bring anything to contribute, but several people stopped by our department to invite us to their party as they had so much food to consume. As I didn't feel like having mystery sausages and spinach salad for three meals in a row (it was our dinner too) I decided to eat at the pot luck. An hour later, I didn't feel so well. Twenty minutes after that; I ran out of a patient's room and almost ran over a staffer on my way to throw up. The next morning, I received a text from Co-worker that she was diarrhearring (a verb invented by one of our former patients). I figured it was the pot luck as I fixed a plate for her and we ate the same foods. However when I took Kate in for her 12 month check up, I inquired and no one else who had ate at the pot luck had been sick. That night Husband began to experience gut ache. I began to suspect it wasn't the pot luck that caused our illness and feared it was foods from our party. 

My fears were confirmed when Co-worker admitted that her husband also had some GI issues and then she disclosed a starteling relevation. "So, when we were at your party... your cousin's oldest child was licking the bread rolls for the sausage and was putting them back in the basket." Oh, it gets worse. "His father watched him do it and didn't say anything." I texted my friend Amy to inquire about her stomach. "I was puking on Monday and have been having the big D. Why?" she responded. Oh Fuck, my cousin's son made everyone at our party ill (Interestingly, my cousin and her husband and my aunt and uncle did not get sick). I can understand the awkwardness of the situation and how Co-worker probably wasn't sure what to say to my cousin's husband, but why the fuck didn't she say anything to me? Seriously, she is the most germaphobic person I know. We went out to the parking garage at lunch so I could return the cooler I borrowed and she grabbed a tissue before touching the door handle to walk out of our office (a door only accessed by staff, not patients) I debated if I should say anything to my cousin, but my dad cautioned me against doing so as I wasn't a direct witness to the event and apparently to prove that the rolls were the cause, I would have to do a full food analysis of what everyone ate and cross refernce symptoms. My dad used to be a food service manager and told me more than I ever wanted to know about documenting food contamination. The silver linging? Co-worker, Amy and I were all happy we lost a few pounds, and as Husband and I really didn't feel like eating much, I didn't have to meal plan or cook for almost a week. A few days later I was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar with Kate and came to his binge session on Saturday, which gave him a stomach ache that night. I chuckled to myself. At least it was fitting with the theme of the party. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

One Year!

It's the end of my baby's first year and it's been the best year of my life. Okay, I admit that I haven't loved every minute of it. There was a night in January when Husband away and she decided to cry from 1-4 AM, that I wasn't really digging. Also wasn't really loving the night I got showered and puke and was soaked to my skin. But for the most part, I've enjoyed this year immensely. I'm so fortunate to have a baby, I'm even more fortunate that she is healthy and I'm blessed beyond belief that she is such a delight. I've been asked if I can imagine my life without her. Yes, I can. It's quite easy. I lived 39 years of my life without her. I can't imagine myself with any other baby that her. Sometimes it strikes me that if any of my prior transfers had worked, or if my prior pregnancies had been successful, I wouldn't have my Kate in my life. It's yet another bitter pill of infertility that is hard to swallow.

Nicknames: Button, Kater Tot, Cup Kate 

Stats: 21 lbs 15 oz. 28.75 inches

Teeth: We seem to be cutting a new tooth every two months. Just after her first birthday, the front two teeth began to emerge. 

Sleep: Still sleeping though the night, although we did have a slight set back. While she was sick, she was so inconsolable. We would rock her, get her to fall asleep, and she'd wake up in hysterics as soon as we put her back in her crib. As she was sick, we decided to make an exception and let her sleep with us. This went on for three nights, but once she no longer had a temperature and was otherwise back to normal, we were determined to get her back into her own bed. I put her down and let her fuss for about twenty minutes before she started to doze. Husband went in to check on her and walked out of her room with two board books in his hand. "Why did you leave these books in her bed?" he accused. "I didn't" I replied. She reached through the slats on her crib and grabbed the books off her table. Such a clever girl. Naps are a bit sporadic. At Day Care, she usually sleeps between 9-10 and 1-2, but sometimes on weekends, I'll try to push her to 11 AM and then she may sleep for almost two and a half hours as her only nap of the day. We've moved her bedtime out a little bit, tending to get her to sleep a little closer to 7:30. In turn, she's been waking up a bit closer to 6 AM, sometimes even a little later, but she still throws the occasional 5 AM wake up in the mix. I was supposed to start swimming at 7 AM on Tuesdays, but last week she feel back asleep with her head on my chest. I had my husband sleeping next to me, baby snuggled in my arms and Tyler was curled up by my feet. I never felt so happy. I was surrounded by everyone I love. Such a memory to savor. Next week, you're getting your lazy ass out of bed and into the pool. 

Eating: I'm concerned that she may blow up as a giant blueberry, much like Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with the way she can put away blueberries. I've been making more squeeze packets for her, often copying the flavour combinations of store bought packets, usually two vegetables and a fruit. She doesn't quite understand the concept of squeezing the packet, and will get frustrated when she gets to the end and often drops it on the floor. I gave her some pieces of cut up chicken, which she enjoyed, so we're doing a little better with self feeding. One night, I had her in the high chair while I was trying to cook, and as I didn't have anything ready to give to her at the moment, I handed her a green bean while I heated her food. It kept her quiet for a long time as I observed that she just seemed to be gnawing on it. When she was bored with it, she threw it on the floor, and as I picked it up, I noticed she had bitten into the shell of the bean, and sucked all the little bean pods out! Again, such a clever girl! 

We fed her both breast milk and formula in the last month as we were counting the day until we could introduce cow's milk. As sad as it was to recognise the final nursing session (which will always be a beautiful memory, even it it was under the haze of my 103 fever) it was much worse to watch my supply dry up while pumping exclusively. I was still producing 4-5 oz per session while I was on the antibiotic, but that dropped to 3-4 after I finished and could use the milk again. Even while I was producing 2-3 oz per session, I was still able to get two bottles of fresh breast milk and I felt pretty good about that. We were only using 3-4 bags of frozen milk per week, which was helping to preserve my stash. It was harder to keep up with pumping. While I was recovering from the pneumonia, I cut out my middle of the night pumping session, claiming that I needed the rest, and I just got so used to having a full night's sleep again. Work was busy and I would sometimes miss my lunch session. I also found it hard to pump in front of her. By the time I was only pumping 2-3 times per day, I was barely getting an ounce per session. I would take almost three days to get one bottle. Just not worth it. Especially as formula is so easy! You just scoop add water and shake... Presto! There's a bottle already for you! No mindless Tetris games while pumping. Cleaning bottles, storing milk, worrying if I forgot to defrost bags. I can't believe that I never forgot to defrost the milk, until we started on the formula. No problem, just make up bottles of formula for Day Care! Formula is a bit deceiving, when you look at that little scoop in the big container, it seems like it could last forever, but I was astonished how quickly we went through formula and we were only using it part time! 

Likes: Music. We usually listen to Billy Joel Radio on Pandora, but one night we decided to switch it up and listen to Bruce Springsteen. The song Glory Days came on and she started tapping her leg and bobbing her ahead, almost perfectly in rhythm. Then a few days later, we went to Baby Yoga and the instructor played ABBA's SOS and she absolutely went nuts over it. So now we've been listening to ABBA on Pandora, which plays all things ABBA. The original ABBA, the New York and London soundtracks to Momma Mia as well as the motion picture version. Any band who has covered an ABBA song. Then Pandora throws in Metallica's Nothing Else Matters. It's a great song, it just doesn't really follow Dancing Queen. Anyway, I can't wait until I can take Kate to see Momma Mia on stage. What is the age where she'll just enjoy the music and not realise that the story line is inappropriate of her age? I think I was 7 or 8 when my parents let me watch Grease on TV. I just loved the music and dancing. It wasn't until I saw it again in my teenage years that I learned the story line and couldn't believe my parents let me watch the movie when I did. She also really enjoys books, but does not want anyone to read to her. In fact, if you try to read to her, she will grab another book off her table and start reading herself. Oh well. I just love seeing her with a book in her hands. 

Dislikes: I was so grateful that Kate didn't make us go through many different brands of formula or different bottles, but she was saving it up for sippy cups. After our pediatrician told us to start introducing the sippy, my mother bought her this very pretty one.  

As she wasn't used to anything with handles, she figured their purpose was to help you hold the cup upside down and let the non-screwed cap fall off and spill water every where. Next we tried one with a straw, but she dropped it on the floor and cracked it. 

I visited with my friend Amy, her baby (who is two weeks younger than Kate) and another mother over Memorial Day weekend. One of the boys had a Tommee Tippee sippy which Kate drank out of a few times. I was mortified, and apologised that my daughter just shared all the germs in the petri dish of her mouth, but I was so happy to know there was a cup that she seemed to prefer. I had to stop at IKEA on my way home and I saw they had a similiar sippy cup (experienced moms are shaking their heads at this point in time).

adorable, but a piece of crap

Yup. Threw on the ground and spilled water every where as the lid doesn't screw in. 

Lesson finally learned, must have a screw-on cap. Found this one on Clearance at Target and it has held up to her attempts to destroy it.  

Milestones: Getting much better at walking! At first she was much like Maggie Simpson. Step.Step.Plop! Step.Step Plop! Now, she's managing to walk longer distances. Sometimes when I want her to walk to a specific place, like her room or the bathroom, I'll hold her hand and we'll walk together and it just melts my heart. Sometimes she'll carry either my purse, my lunch bad or her day care bag. She's definitely saying "Mumma" and "Dadda" but not consistently. When she sees Tyler, she is really trying to say either "-at!" for 'Cat' or "Ity" which we think is 'Kitty'. I must confess that I've been slack about signing with her, partly because I'm a little frustrated that she hasn't displayed a little more progress. I know I shouldn't give up and in fact should increase my efforts. One day while we were busy running around doing errands, I noticed she seemed to be gesturing with her hands quite a bit. It took me a while to figure out that she was probably trying to sign, and I felt guilty that I wasn't paying attention. Then one morning, she started flipping through her cloth picture book (which was a great IKEA find) and made the cow sign upon seeing a cow. No prompting from me. She recognised the cow and made the cow sign. I was bursting with pride. She's still not too consistent with it, but she'll put her hand in front of her lips, which I think is her attempt to sign 'water'. She'll sometimes touch her face near her nose when she sees Tyler, which may be her sign for cat.  

Clothes: It always seems that the first thing she outgrows is her jammies. It may be because they get washed most frequently. She's absolutely busting out of her 9 month size PJs; but when I went to Carter's, I discovered that the 12 month size PJs are in the (gasp) toddler section of the store! The 12 month size is huge! There is such a big jump between 9 and 12 months. Fortunately, there have been a few nights where it was so warm that I put her to bed in just a onesie.  I've been sending her off to Day Care in more dresses lately; just because it's an easier process. 

Diapering: She's become a little less wiggly, but we've improved the method of diapering while she's standing. Previously, we've had her stand toward us (where she would often pull my hair) but we've now adopted the 'frisk' position, where we have her face the wall. Yet she's still determined to make diapering challenging for us, so she's figured out how to un-velcro her diaper covers after we've worked so hard to get her changed. 

Health Issues: As mentioned in the section on sleep, she had her second ear infection.

Looking Forward to: Our next activity! We had to move on from Baby Yoga. I'm so gutted as I really loved the instructor, I started hanging out with some other moms after class and we had developed a good routine on our Tuesdays together. I was warned that kids will outgrow activities just as you seem to get into them. We signed up for a free trial of a music class, so we'll see how that goes and if it will be our new Tuesday activity. We're also finally starting swimming lessons this weekend. My parents are coming for a visit next month! We had planned to have them come out during the two weeks when Kate's Day Care is closed for summer vacation, but now it looks like they'll be here for almost five weeks. Date nights! Gym time! Help with meal planning and dinner prep! A pedicure! Oh yeah, and it will be nice to spend some time with them too, but let's be honest. They're really coming to see Kate. I'm also looking forward to her first birthday party. Actually, I'll clarify that statement. I'm looking forward to her first birthday party being over. The following week after Kate's party, we were invited to a first B-day party for a boy from sign class. Then, the week after that it's a first party for my friend Amy's son. My cousin's son has a birthday party on the first Saturday in August. Ten years ago it seemed like every weekend was filled by someone's wedding. Such is our life now.  

Her official birthday photo
The other was staged a week earlier

Thursday, 23 June 2016

I'm not Martha Stewart

What is a smash cake?" I asked a fellow blogger, feeling a little embarassed that I didn't know "Haha" she replied "It's a tiny individual cake that the baby gets to just smash into.  Bigger than a cupcake and usually decorated kind of elaborately." "It became a thing when cake companies realized new parents will pay for anything." she added. Well that was enough to trigger my inner skeptic, and start the idea that I would make my own cake for Kate's first birthday. Afterall, my mother made my first birthday cake from scratch.

Pausing for a moment. As I have been trying to replicate some of the things my parents did for me as a baby, I've also been coming to terms with the fact that I may have a romanticised view of my childhood. On cloth diapering, I thought my parents were so environmentally conscious. [My mother's response] Oh, we really didn't care too much about the environment, Cloth diapers were just much cheaper than dispoable diapers. On breastfeeding, we were living in an expersive city on one salary, we couldn't afford formula. On my first birthday cake, yeah, I made the cake from scratch because money was tight. Also we didn't really have a party for you. We let you play with the cake and that was it. 

"Plus, I wasn't working at the time" My mother reminded me as I told her about my idea to do Kate's cake. Well that was just challenge accepted! I'm a pretty competent baker, and if I were to do a regular cake, I probably could have managed that. However, I wanted to do cupcakes rather than a cake. Firstly, her nickname. They would be CupKates. Secondly, I prefer to serve cupcakes as you don't have to deal with the cutting process and people seem to be more willing to eat cupcakes, where they would turn down a regular piece of cake.Then I decided I wanted her birthday to have a Very Hungry Catapillar theme. I thought I was the first person ever to have this idea for about five minutes, until my mother googled "Hungry Caterpillar Birthday" and we discovered that nearly everyone does a TVHC birthday theme. I'm not sure why, but I began to feel more confident that I could pull this off, as I imagined it would 'merely' involve getting some cake mix, frosting and food colouring. I was already anticipating how great they were going to turn out and while I was fantasizing, of course there would be a little praise coming my way. Yes, guests would note how awesome I am; a working mom who makes kick ass cupcakes! [flips hair over shoulder]

Fortunately, I had the sense to do a dry run. I decided to have a go while my mother was visiting. As she wouldn't be there for Kate's one year mark, she could feel involved with the party. We worked together to mix the colours for the frosting. I had purchased some jelly beans for his eyes, a chocholate chip nose and some Hershey kisses for his feet. As we assembled the hungry caterpillar with our cupcakes, it wasn't coming anywhere near the image that I had in my mind.

"What do you honestly think?" I asked my mother. "Well" she paused. "They look like they were made with a lot of love.' [Translation] They look like crap. As my Dad worked in food service for many years, I asked if he thought they looked totally amatuer. He gave a play-it-safe response, "You don't seemed to be satisfied with the finished product." Why are you asking for my professional opinion when you already know the answer? I waited until Husband weighed in with this thoughts. I know I could rely on him for a completely unfiltered assessment. "Would you be embarrassed if we served these at Kate's first birthday party?" I asked. He replied that he really wouldn't care, his critique of my creation is that it just really didn't represent the Very Hungry Caterpillar. "It looks more like the anorexic caterpillar." he quipped.

Oh, how I wish he had just said, "Jane, these look like shit. You're not a baker, so don't try to pretend to be one. Suck it up and go to the bakery like a normal person." I would have saved so much time and energy, not to mention money. I purchased a mini-loaf pan, as well as some decorating tools, brushing off the irony that in my effort to avoid the scam of the smash cake, I would probably be paying about the same, if not, maybe even more. We went for take two. 

So, as you can see, Husband was right. The mini-loafs really were the right way to go, as I was able to do a better job capturing the shape of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. However, the frosting still wasn't working. I really would need to learn how to use the wedding cake style frosting that I saw in Michaels craft store, but fortunately had the sense not to buy. Suddenly, it also occured to me that I would need to spend the day before the party doing cleaning, last minutes chores and a lot of other food prep, so... what the fuck was I thinking? I didn't even bother attempting to finish, it was time to wave a white flag of plain vanilla icing on the remaining cakes. I was ready to admit defeat and started googling local bakeries. 

I could hear Kate start to stir, as I was sulking, cleaning up and eating the fruits of my labour (they were delicious by the way). It served as an important reminder. This is for Kate's birthday party. She needs to be the centre of attention. Not her cake and not her mother. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Eleven Months

I am issuing an apology. To all parents with a crying baby on a flight. Prior to my own experience as a parent, I figured you were doing something wrong. I didn't understand why you couldn't calm your baby and I probably even blamed you for it. Oh, how very wrong was I. I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was that mother with the screaming, unconsolable baby. Our flight to Hawaii wasn't too bad. The take-off coordinated with her nap time and she slept for the first two hours of the flight. Husband and I were even able to watch The Big Short. We really lucked out and had an empty seat next to us, which was fortunate as I gave Kate a squeeze pouch for the first time and she squirted it all over that seat's tray table. (Rookie error; I should have had her practice before the flight). The flight home was a different story. She had spent eight days out of her usual routine and was overstimulate and overtired and didn't want to be confined to my lap for five hours. 

We tried everything we could. She wasn't interested in nursing. At one point, I think I had both breasts exposed to anyone walking down the aisles. "Do you want me to get your cover?" asked Husband. "No, I don't give a shit!" I snaped. That's not entrely true. In general, I'd prefer not to flash an entire airplane, but I was so exhausted at that moment as I desparately wanted the sleep she was refusing. Although I almost always use a cover in public, I found it really cumbersome in the small confined space of an airplane seat. She didn't want to eat any of the snacks I brought for her and wasn't interested in any of her books or toys. I put her in the carrier and walked up and down the aisles, which worked for a lap or two, then she started really wailing. I decided to go to the back of the plane and stationed myself in the galley. At one point, I went into the bathroom to get a tissue and I wanted to cry myself. Husband tried to calm her, but she kept reaching for me. Finally I handed her off claiming I needed a rest from her screaming in my ear. She finally crashed and fell asleep five minutes later. Of course, he looked like the hero.   

Stats: (approximate) 22 pounds 28 inches

Teeth: Still two on the bottom and is working on her top incisors

Sleep: She's been sleeping through the night since about 9 months. She may wake up once or twice, but she [usually] goes right back to sleep. However, when we went to Hawaii, she stayed on California time for much of the trip. This meant she was waking up at 2 AM [5 am Pacific time] bright eyed, bushy tailed and was ready to get on with her day. It was painful. We just took her back to our bed and took turns, one would sleep for half an hour while the other played with her and we collectively hoped she would fall back to sleep. She would fall back to sleep, which made me worry that we had opened the door to co-sleeping and I feared she would want to resume when we returned to the main land. Fortunately, she re-adjusted back to California time quite quickly and also went back to sleeping all night again. However, she went from waking at 6 AM to waking at 5 AM. It's not so much of a problem during the work week, as I find I can get some chores done, but it's brutal on the weekends. We tried putting her to bed a little later, but it doesn't matter, she still wakes up before sunrise. 

Eating: My parents have become friendly with their neighbours, a couple in their early 30s, who have a baby only a few weeks younger than Kate. My mother often shares updates on their daughter, and I'm sure anyone else could pass on the same information and I wouldn't have any reaction. Yet, because the words are coming from my mother's mouth, my immediate response is to intrepret it as a form of criticism and implication that either I or Kate are inadequate. Fortunately, I've been able to brush most of it off. "Jess, puts her baby down with a blanket" The AAP recommends no blankets until 2 years, but I guess if Jess does it; then it must be okay... "Charlotte is 6 months and already has 4 teeth!" Yeah, I'm not at all worried that Kate doesn't have any teeth yet... "Your Dad held Charlottle on his lap for almost 45 minutes last night" Well, Kate won't last sitting on your lap for 4 to 5 seconds, let alone 4 to 5 minues... "Jess reports that Charlottle [ten months old] can say 15 words...but we haven't heard any..." Yeah, I'm just going to go ahead and call bullshit on that one... "Jess says Charlottle eats everything they eat... they just cut it up in small pieces for her."

Oh, that last one got to me. My pediatrician had suggested we try that at her 9 month visit. I hadn't really pursued it mostly because we were in such an efficient routine. Come home from work around 5:30, feed Kate her puree at 6, start to change her into her PJs by 6:30, nurse and have her asleep by 7. During this time, Husband would prepare our dinner, we could eat, clean up, pack lunch and bottles and be done by 8 PM. I had planned to do a little more food sharing while we were in Hawaii, but we ate eggs almost each morning and we grilled a lot of fish. Two things to avoid before the first year. When we returned, I made some turkey burgers (laced with kale and sweet potato) for our dinner, and I cooked a bit for her and served it without blending it in the Baby Bullet. Husband observed that the pieces were still too much for her. He would dip a bit in the baby crack applesause, and she would manage to suck off the applesause and spit out the lumps of turkey meat. She's still not ready to be a part of the "It's great! Baby eats what you eat!" crowd. I felt intense mom guilt for giving into the pressure to keep up with Jones. Even though it was also a recommendation from her doctor, I still need to remember that I'm the one who knows her best. 

Then we seemed to regress even further. While Husband was away, I started her dinner with some peas and carrots (from the frozen bag of vegtables). She threw all of them on the floor, I don't think anything made it into her mouth. "Fuck Baby Led Weaning!" I wanted to cry as I was litterly holding back tears while sweeping up the floor. I am now convinved that the key element of BLW is to have a dog who can clean this shit up. Tyler will sometimes play with a fallen Cheerio, which is not very helpful. My biggest worry as we transition into more solid foods is how much to feed? Even while exclusively breastfeeding, I never had the 'is she getting enough?' panic. My magic boobs knew just how much to give her. While we were in Hawaii, I decided that I couldn't be bothered trying to make her food while we were on vacation, so we purchased packaged baby food, and I noticed the portions were much bigger than what we had been giving her. Of note, she enjoyed the squeeze packets, but hated the Gerber meals. I can't decide if she just really appreciates her mother's cooking, or Gerber really is shit. I'm going to go with the latter. I don't know if I'm over feeding or underfeeding her with solids, but I feel that I can't rely on her to feed herself yet, and at least with spoon feeding her purees, at least I know how much is going in her mouth. 

We did make some progress. I had her try some grapes and blueberries. Blueberries are the new baby crack. She gobbles those up and my new trick is to dump the cut up blueberries on her remaining peas and carrots and she'll manage to shove it all in her mouth. My not so proud mothering moment: I was so tired of trying to deter her from eating dry cat food that I finally decided to let her try a piece of kibble. I figured she would find it to be disgusting and learn why we don't eat cat food. My plan backfired. She started chowing down on kitty food. Tyler looked pissed. I figure if I want her to stop eating cat food, I just need to put it on her tray. 

She has been doing well since she had to boycott the breast due to my antibiotic use. Earlier that week I took her to do a 5K Walk/Little bit of Running, and I needed to bring a bottle. I didn't want to use any of my frozen milk, as it's reserved for her Day Care. I had some single use formula samples that were about to expire, so I decided to give it a try. She sucked down the bottle without hesitation. Fortunately, we had some forumla on hand, so I've been alternating between using formula and frozen milk. The first morning of my antibiotic use, she seemed a bit fussy, but calmed down when I held her in my lap while she was drinking her bottle. Husband reckoned that she was content just to be leaning against the boob. So far, she hasn't started grabbing at my shirt. I've been pumping just to down regulate my supply. Pumping and dumping is just the most depressing thing ever. I now understand the saying 'crying over spiled milk', as I've shed tears watching my milk go down the drain. 

Likes: Pushing chairs. After I splured a bit with the slightly pricey baby walker (with wooden Zebras to compliment the jungle theme in her nursery -see picture in her Ten Month post) she decided she was ready for an upgrade and started pushing her high chair around the kitchen. Once she mastered manouvering the high chair, the next challenge was something without wheeles, and she moved on to pushing the two chairs at the breastfast table and the two bar stools that are in our kitchen. The bonus? I can work on meal prep and still keep track of her just by watching the tops of the chairs move around the kitchen's island. Our pediatrician had suggested moving all my plastic containers to a low drawer of cabinet that could be designated for her. Wow. This guy really knows his stuff. She has a basket of toys in the other room, but she loves it when I open the container drawer. That occupies a good 15-20 minutes during meal prep. She also loves hangers. I went through her closet to pull out clothes that were too small and I left a pile of hangers on the floor. She was so content playing with them, that I brought her with me when I cleaned out my closet and she loved playing with the hangers!

Dislikes: Anything that requires sitting still. Now really hates Baby Jail (the Pack and Play). We're only keeping it up for desparate times. While Husband was away over Memorial Day weekend, I stuck her in the PNP just so I could shower. She screamed so loud that I thought our neighbours would call Child Services. 

Milestones: Walking! She didn't take her first steps in Hawaii, but she did so over Memorial Day weekend. She would extend both arms forward to keep her balance, which makes her look like a little zombie, which is rather adorable. Now that she's walking, our next challenge is to keep her in shoes. She's been babbling a lot more, using more sounds and syllables, but not producing anything coherent or making any sense. She has uttered "Muma" and Dada" but I think it was more random sounds than addressing us as Muma or Dada. We're convinced her first proper word will be "Tyler" or "Kitty". She seems to br regressing with signing a little bit, using her go-to sign of 'milk' a lot less. She has done the sign for leaf, twice at random times,  and she did the sign for 'peas' while we were eating peas. I keep trying to work with her by doing the animal signs while we play with her stuffed animals and I sign while I read some books. Husband shared that maybe she thinks I'm just an idiot.

Clothes: Cleared all onesies and other items that are less than 9 months out of her dresser and closet. Started introducing the 12 month sized clothes. 

Diapering: In exciting diapering news, we are still using the small size diaper covers that are designated for 12-18 lbs as they still fit and the fit better under her clothes. 

Health Issues: She attempted to crawl from our bed onto Husband's nightstand and her hand fell down the side of the bed, causing her to face plant right onto the night stand. A nice shiner popped up immediately. I explained what happened when I dropped her off at Day Care and couldn't resist the 'yeah, but you should see the other guy...' line. Just as soon as I said that, another mom came in and explained that her daughter had a black eye...Whoops. 

Looking forward to: Her first birthday party. It's been fun putting the details together, and it reminds me how just one year ago I was putting the finishing touches on her nursery. I'm trying not to get too mushy over the fact that my baby is growing up so fast, but I'm reflecting on how amazing this year has been and how I can't wait for the years ahead.     

Close up of her black eye

Probably the best picture, but off centre