Friday, June 28, 2013

{this moment} teething toys

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Six Months Postpartum

Just this morning I (finally) completed an evaluation sent out by our midwifery clinic.  They sent it over two months ago.  Anyway, going through that had me think that alongside the six month update on Sprout, I could do a little update on how I'm doing six months after her birth.

I am still processing.  When I got the midwifery clinic's evaluation back in April there were sections I just couldn't complete.  It was too hard to deal with all the emotions surrounding my feelings about the care I was provided with.  All along I said that I wanted a vaginal birth, but that the most important thing to me was that both the baby and I were healthy following delivery, and if that meant a Cesarean, so be it.  Looking back I should have emphasized my preference for a vaginal birth more than I did.  Maybe I would have been encouraged to labour just a little bit longer.  Maybe there are things I could have done to help encourage dilation.  Whenever I think about the labour and birth I end up thinking, "What if...?"

That said, overall I feel like I'm doing much better emotionally than I was a few months ago.  After pushing it back twice, I had my initial appointment with a psychiatrist last Friday.  I have another intake appointment in July and from there will likely be referred to another psychiatrist for counselling.  I hope to get some strategies for dealing with the anxiety I've been experiencing.  Aside from that I find it reassuring to know that there is someone who will just listen.  At this point I would say the anxiety is more of a concern for me than the depression.  As I said to the psychiatrist, I know a lot of what I'm feeling is completely irrational, but I can't help it.  

Jen and I are doing well, but have yet to carve out much time for "us."  I miss her.  It seems most of our time together is spent dealing with family and household responsibilities.  I know it's temporary and I'm not worried about it, but I am looking forward to achieving a better balance over the next few months.

I also miss The Bean.  He is such a good big brother and I really couldn't be happier with how he's handling this new role.  I try to make sure that I spend time talking to him and playing with him, but there's been a huge shift.  Bedtime is where I find it the most noticeable as I'm often preoccupied nursing and putting Sprout down for bed at the same time as he's going through his bath and bedtime routine.  I'm pretty sure he feels it too as I can often hear him asking Jen "Where's Mama?"    

I am enjoying Sprout.  Maybe that sounds silly, but with the depression and anxiety I feel like it's important to say.  It's hard on days like yesterday where she needs me to rock her for over an hour before she sleeps.  I get tired and frustrated.  But fortunately those days are few and far between and when they do come up Jen is a great partner in helping to deal with them.  Even on the hard days she makes me smile though.  A lot.

The scar from my Cesarean healing well.  It fades from reddish-purple to skin tone and has no keloids.  It   does still hurt, especially when pressure is put on it.  I also think I'm experiencing some intermittent pain from when the catheter was initially placed poorly.  I have a specialist appointment for that as my GP couldn't see anything wrong, but it's not until September.

I am a little below my pre-pregnancy weight.  I can't really take any credit, because I haven't done anything; I think the combination of breastfeeding and the running around that goes with having two kids, a needy cat, and a household to take care of was all I needed to get back here.  Mostly I'm just happy that my old clothes fit.  My shape, however is pretty different.  My bum is gone.  My arms are thinner.  My breasts are bigger.  My tummy softer.  I am pleased that I was able to lose the "baby weight", but am neither particularly pleased or displeased with my appearance in general.

Now that my course is over I feel like I finally have some time for myself.  It feels like a complete luxury to be able to write a real blog post (this one) or listen to a podcast (This American Life) or pick up a book (And the Mountains Echoed) or listen to a new band (Seer Group).  Playing with the manual setting on my camera, crocheting and cooking are next on the to-do-and-enjoy list.

Sorry for the beast of a post. I'll reward you with some baby photos for making it to the end. ;)


Monday, June 24, 2013

Sprout is Six Months Old!

Today Sprout is six months old!

Our sweet baby girl is now closer to a year old than to being newborn.  How very quickly it's gone by.

-Sprout is, as The Bean calls her, a "darling, darling."  I'm promise I'm not just being a biased mama here, she is just so sweet.

-Jen always wanted a snuggly baby, and I think she may have got one in Sprout.  When she's in the Ergo or wrap she will wrap her little arms around us and give a squeeze.  She'll also nuzzle into the crook of your arm when being bounced before going down for a sleep.  If you lie on the bed with her, she'll roll towards you and grasp at your face.  Likewise, if I nurse her when she is unswaddled she will pat my face or chest (or pull my hair... but we'll overlook that for now).

-She will still willingly let other people hold her, and even strangers can get away with a little tickle on her toes, but she is noticeably more critical of these situations.  She doesn't fuss, but she doesn't give everyone the big gummy smiles she once would have.

-She ADORES her big brother.  Often in the morning we put her in his crib and they cuddle.  He also likes to visit her and do babytalk or tickle her when she is playing.  He had her giggling so much the other night at dinnertime when he was blowing raspberries at her.  Very cute.

-Her giggle is just the best.  She sounds like a 80 year old man who smokes too much.  It's such a gruff little laugh coming from such a cubby-cheeked baby.  You wouldn't expect it.

-And, oh, the chub!  I love it.  She has lovely rolly thighs and creases all the way around her wrists.  And her (lack of) knees... adorable!

-She had her six month check up today and is just under 18lbs.  (That is more than The Bean weighed at a year old.)  I believe she was also nearly 28 inches long.  I need to write and ask them to send the exact measurements as we forgot the take the sheet with us.  I'd also like to know her percentiles.  I'm guessing she tops the charts.

-She is now firmly into 6-12m clothing.  I opened up the 6m box and found that there were some things that she never even got to wear that are already too small.  I actually need to pull out some of the 9m stuff because I'm pretty confident it'll be perfect for right now.

-Though 90% of the time she is in cloth, when she's in a disposable it is now a size 4.    

-Shortly after her five month update she began rolling both front to back and back to front.  She's now mastered that skill.

-Also, she's learning to crawl!  While she has yet to get her bum and her chest up at the same time, she is quite adept at worming her way across the floor to get wherever it is she wants to be.

-She can't exactly sit up, but she can tripod for about 5-10 seconds before toppling to the side.  She usually has a pretty positive attitude towards the whole silly situation.

-We've broken out the Jumperoo.  She loves it!  The kid seriously goes nuts for this thing, jumping up and down for minutes at a time. ;)

-She's been showing an interest (watching, reaching for) in food for a while now.  We started off with some avocado, but she threw up both times we gave it to her, so we backed off.  She's still only tried a handful of foods (I think brown rice cereal and pears are the only new ones this month) because I'm reluctant to give her anything but breastmilk for a few days after she's vomited.  And she's been vomiting about every 3-5 days.  I'm quite distressed about it, but the pediatrician said if there are no other signs of distress not to worry too much.  Since he's not concerned, we may start introducing more foods.  She's not very good at eating them and mostly just takes a tiny bite and then pushes the rest around with her tongue.  We're in no rush.

-She nurses well.  She eats about every three hours around the clock.

-When she is tired she shows it by rubbing her eyes and talking.  If we put her down when she starts these things, it usually doesn't take long for her to fall asleep.  She usually sleeps with her arms swaddled in a large receiving blanket, though if she is very tired she will sleep without it.  She takes almost all her naps in the co-sleeper beside our bed, unless we are out and I am wearing her.  We still rock/bounce her until she is nearly asleep before putting her down.

-Her sleep is very similar to her brother's at this age.  She goes down between 7 and 8pm (often waking about 45 minutes in and doing another small nursing session) and is usually up three times overnight to nurse --11:00, 2:00 and 5:00, though sometimes she will sleep through the 11pm feeding now.  I'm tired, but still not terribly fussed about getting her to go longer through the night especially since she goes back to sleep quite easily.  This stage won't last long, so I'm trying to enjoy it rather than rush her through to the next one before she's ready.  (I'm also concerned that if we're trying to get her to skip a feeding and she ends up crying it will wake up The Bean, which will be more disruptive than me just nursing her would be.)

-Everyone comments on how she must be teething.  It's true, she puts absolutely everything into her mouth to chomp on.  So far there are no signs of teeth though.  Just lots of drool.

-Her eye-hand coordination is pretty good.  She grasps at toys (or whatever) and is able to bring them to her mouth.  I haven't yet noticed her passing things from hand to hand.  Both Jen and I think she maybe left handed.

-She is increasingly interactive.  She smiles, talks and laughs.  She loves being "surprised" and thrown in the air (still very gently) or bounced around.  "You Are My Sunshine" is still her favourite song.  :)

We love our darling sunshine baby so much.  We're looking forward to the upcoming months and having some extended family time together over the summer.

Friday, June 21, 2013

{this moment} Mama/Son Park Date

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: Finding Bluefield

This one is for mommies, not kids. :)

A few months ago I received an email asking whether I'd like to be sent a novel to review.  If you know me, you know I love reading, so I quickly replied back that I would definitely be interested.  The email outlined the story as being about two women who fall in love and start a family together.  Goodness knows there is not much good lesbian fiction out there, so I was appreciative to be on the receiving end of this offer.

I eagerly waited for the book to arrive.  It was coming from California, so I expected it might take a while.  After several weeks it arrived in a transparent plastic bag with a note from the USPS.  It'd been damaged while being processed.  Fortunately, though a little crunched up, it was still readable.

I made it through the first half on our drive up to Jen's parent's place last month and finished it on the drive home, all while trying to keep both a toddler and infant entertained.  That is to say, it was a quick read and relatively easy to put down and pick up again without getting mixed up on characters or plot points.

Without giving too much away, the book is about two women who meet, fall in love, and raise a child together.  It is set in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s and historical events are intertwined throughout the story.  I really enjoyed the ideas brought forward in this book; however I found that moments that had the greatest potential for plot and character development were cut short, often skipping a few years ahead leaving things unrealized or unresolved.  I would have enjoyed it more if some of the more significant and emotional events had been fleshed out.  As it stands, I would say it's worth checking out if given the opportunity.

If anyone is interested in reading it, I'm happy to pass along my copy.  Perhaps your opinions will differ from mine.  I'd like to read your review.  In the same vein, if you have a piece of lesbian fiction you'd like to recommend, please mention it in the comments.  Happy reading!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

::right now::

 Right now I am...

::enjoying the early morning quiet.
::priding myself on the completion of my course.  (I am so glad it is over.) 
::rationalizing eating peach crumble and ice cream for breakfast.  
::appreciating my wife letting me sleep in this morning, and then takingThe Bean to the Farmer's Market so I could have some additional quiet.  
::thinking about friends, and how they are so good to have.
::smiling at our toy-strewn floor from the little ones' morning play and our own little messes from our game night last night.  
::reflecting on fatherhood and motherhood and what it means to be a parent and how to be a good one.  
::reminding myself to send my dad his card... and photos... and tell him I love him and that we miss him.
::wondering what today will bring.  
::trusting that it's bound to be good.  
::hoping that yours is too.  

Inspired by SouleMama

Friday, June 14, 2013

{this moment} breakfast

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Potty Training

Last summer I had ambitions of potty training The Bean.  We went out and bought a potty and he was actually pretty good about sitting on it and going pee when we encouraged him.  But honestly, it wasn't something we really committed to, so it never really went anywhere.

Then we got into the routine of having him use the potty before his bath.  He got really good at it, using either his potty or a seat on the big toilet most nights (or, some nights, insisting that he would just pee in the tub, a bit gross maybe, but not worth the fight).

When Sprout came along and our cloth diaper laundry doubled (and then some) we decided that it was time to start potty training in earnest.

In addition to the pre-bath time pee, we got The Bean going in the mornings and when he got home from daycare.  He didn't particularly like having his diaper changed, so telling him he could wear underwear for the  evening (or in the morning until it was time to leave for daycare) seemed to be a big incentive for him.

Then, one morning about two weeks ago he told me quite adamantly that he didn't want to put on a diaper before daycare, so I sent him in underwear.  I think his daycare provider was a little surprised, but his only accident that day was from bad aim.  The next morning Jen and I hemmed and hawed about what to do, but decided we might as well just stick with it.  So, The Bean is now officially potty training.

He wears underwear everyday except for at nap-time and overnight.  Most days he has an accident and he has yet to use the potty for a BM which is a little bit problematic as it most often means a big mess or he waits until he has a diaper on for his nap and then goes, which means he doesn't sleep.  (Any tips from BTDT folks?)  But he's getting better.  Occasionally he'll stop and tell us he has to go pee.  Otherwise he's gotten pretty good at waiting until we remind him (about every hour, up from every half-hour when we started).

We're pretty proud of our little guy.

As as cute as we thought his big fluffy bum was, really, this is pretty adorable too.

Friday, June 7, 2013

{this moment} morning snuggles

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blogging for LGBT Families Day

Today is Blogging for LGBT Families Day.  I've been neck-deep in a paper on phonics instruction in the primary grades and wasn't really planning on writing anything non-phonics related, but my brain needs a break, so here I am.  Plus, I've been thinking all weekend about this incident, so maybe talking about it here will help me be able to let it go a little bit.

On Friday evening there was a get together for a teacher I used to work with, so Jen stayed home with The Bean and Sprout and I went to the party.  (Dinner and bedtime can be full-on when we're at a 2:2 ratio, I didn't feel right leaving her with both kiddos, though I'm sure she would have managed.)  Many of my former co-workers were there and they all oohed and ahhed over Sprout.  Many people also asked after The Bean, so I got to boast about both children.

Another woman and her partner arrived with their three week old baby.  I struck up a brief conversation with the new dad as I was grabbing a few strawberries at the buffet.  He casually asked if Sprout was my first child.  I explained that no, she wasn't my first, but that my wife had carried our son.  (It's true what they say about constantly having to out yourself after you have children.)  He asked, "How old is your daughter?"  I thought nothing of the question and simply replied, "Five months."  He then asked how old "her son" --as in my wife's son-- was.  I was floored.  This is the first time anyone who I've explained our family situation to has treated me like our son was not mine.  I calmly responded that our son is nearly two and a half.  He didn't acknowledge the correction.

I am still upset.

Maybe I should have been more overt in stating that The Bean is most definitely my son, every bit as much as he is my wife's.  Or maybe it's better that I didn't make a big deal out of it.  I don't know.  What would you have done?