Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Okay Mom I Don't Think We Are Getting a Crib . . . (cringe)


We never registered for or got a crib. I knew I wanted to cosleep, and many of my friends who did ended up never using their cribs. I really didn't want to spend 500-600 dollars on something we wouldn't use . . . so I figured I would wait and get one when I wanted one.

So maybe about a month ago, watching james start to fill up his cradle that I somehow seriously thought he would physically fit in until he was 2 (it's 31 inches long), I started feeling some pressure to make a decision about his sleeping situation and thinking maybe we should get a crib for him to use for naps, especially because at this point I was having some success to rocking james to sleep and putting him in his cradle . . .

. . . however, in the month since then, as I alluded to before, something has sparked to life in james which cannot be controlled or even guided much of the time. He loves life. He doesn't want to sleep (or even get a good meal in, sometimes!). He wants to look and play and wiggle and chew on things. He has discovered that the world contains all this interesting information and objects which are a joy to behold and interact with.

This is quite adorable but it means that our sleep situation has changed. It is nearly impossible now to rock him to sleep without a LOT of time and effort invested. Right now there are two easy ways to get him to sleep. One: Nurse him and then rock him, and then stick him in his swing and leave him there to "fuss it out" until he falls asleep, anywhere from 2-15 mins. OR, lay in the bed with him and nurse him for 5-10 mins until he is completely asleep. Nursing is much easier and even pleasant and relaxing (for both of us). AND it's sustainable on the long term. Which putting him in his swing isn't.

So my basic conclusion, here, is that the easiest thing for us on the long-term is for me to nurse james to sleep. A crib, therefore, is not going to work for us. Attempting to transfer him to a crib will mean that he notices he is alive and begins to smile and look around again. Cute, but not restful.

So I believe our immediate action on his sleeping situation is going to be to get toddler rails for one or both sides of our bed. And then before he starts crawling (in the next month or two), we'll get a twin mattress and throw it on the floor in our bedroom and I will nurse him to sleep and then he can nap there and potentially spend part of the night. If he wakes up he can crawl out safely--we can put the mattress on blankets or a rug or something so it's soft for him.

At this point we'll also get a baby gate that we can set up in our bedroom door.

And then when his room is done (and has out-gassed for several months), we can transition him to sleeping in his own room on the twin mattress on the floor (and at that point, put the baby gate across the hallway so that he can access both of our rooms but that is all). And then he'll have plenty of time to get used to his own room before we night-wean him (out of our bed and from nursing at night). I would hope to do that around 18 months or so.

So that's the plan. Mom, if I feel like I want a crib in the future I will still get one! But we're going to try this first and see how it goes.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Breastfeeding Twins

My nieces are twins, my good friend just became an uncle to twins, and another family member is currently pregnant with twins so the topic of breastfeeding twins has come up a lot lately.

My experience with breastfeeding twins is what I witnessed/heard from my sister-in-law, what I've researched about it (alongside breastfeeding in general) over the years, and what I can extrapolate from nursing one baby.

Here is my advice for how to successfully breastfeed twins. This is adapted from the general breastfeeding advice on my breastfeeding page--the parts in italics are where the advice differs from general tips with a singleton. I hope this is helpful!

Breastfeeding Twins

The majority of women have more than enough MILK to exclusively breastfeed twins; what ends up being the scare resources, more often than not, is time, food, and sleep for the Mom.

I firmly believe that breastfeeding is a socialized skill, much like using a fork. We were meant to grow up watching people breastfeed all the time, like using a fork. In this ideal environment, we would learn about breastfeeding by watching our Moms, Aunts, Sisters, and limitless women while out and about in public. However, this is not our environment, so breastfeeding goes from natural and easy to awkward and challenging very quickly.

Here is my advice for having a successful breastfeeding relationship with your twins. These things are in an ideal situation. Sometimes there are emergencies or unforeseen complications, but breastfeeding is resilient enough to work out great even if you can't do all of these things every time.

-If possible, have a natural birth. There is evidence that drugs such as pitocin and the narcotic drugs in an epidural can affect both your milk coming in, and the baby's ability to stimulate the breast early on. Sorry I'm too lazy to look up said evidence and link it but you can look it up yourself and/or use common sense to realize that it is probably true. With this said, a natural birth isn't everyone's first choice for a birth experience and plenty of medicated birth babies have zero issue with breastfeeding. However, I believe a natural birth is a great way to start out a breastfeeding relationship with every advantage on your side.

Some people mistakenly believe that you must have a c-section or an epidural when you are delivering twins. This is not true. As long as one twin is head down and engaged in the birth canal, you should be set to deliver your twins vaginally. Sometimes only one twin can be delivered vaginally but it's still better for that one to have avoided the c-section even if one is necessary for the second twin.

Some hospitals have policies about delivering twins. Fight for your birth rights if having a natural birth is important to you. You are always allowed to deny a medical test or procedure that they are offering.

So even for twins, having a natural birth is a better way to go if you are able to do it!

-Immediately after birthing the first twin, put the baby on your belly/chest, and leave her/him there, skin-to-skin, until you have the other baby. Continue skin-to-skin care then for as long as possible--ideally 1-2 hours or more. You can allow the babies to initiate breastfeeding on their own by crawling to the breast, or you can help them. Keep the babies naked and your chest uncovered, and do this skin-to-skin kangaroo care for at least 1-2 hours after birth.

-My suggestions for a great pattern in which to nurse twins is this: Have one twin on one breast for all feedings and the other twin on the other for an entire week, then switch them. This will ensure that even if one twin is having a needy/fussy day, there will still be plenty of milk there for the other twin. The reason it might be a good idea to switch them weekly is that more often than not, one breast will produce more than the other breast, so this ensures that both twins get a chance at the more productive side.

-The first week should be a "nursing vacation." You, your babies, and ideally your husband, should pretty much stay in bed and be naked together to help the babies bond with both of you and establish proper breastfeeding.

-Expect the babies to pretty much nurse non-stop the first week--this is NORMAL, HEALTHY, and does NOT mean that the babies are not getting enough milk. This first week is CRITICAL in terms of your milk supply coming in well. Some people can take up to a week for the milk to come in. Colostrum is enough for your babies but only if they are able to nurse pretty much constantly. Some babies can go an hour or two between feeds, and most do that at least some of the time, but start out with the expectation that this first week your job is ONLY to nurse the babies. Hence the staying in bed/on the couch.

Even if you don't generally enjoy tandem breastfeeding (feeding both babies at once), you might want to just resign yourself to doing it for this first week or two.

-For at least the first six weeks, breastfeeding twins is (at least) a three person 24-hour a day job:
+The Mom should (for most of the day and night) be comfortably arranged on a couch or bed, with pillows set up so that when a twin is hungry, it is brought to the Mom's breast, arranged on the pillow, and allowed to nurse. In this way the Mom can nurse both babies at once on demand, even with twins.
+The Dad should be on diaper and baby comfort duty. Besides feedings, Dad should be the primary caretaker of the babies. He will do most diaper changes, clothes changes, will bring twins to and from Mom, will rock to sleep, etc.
+And there should be a third person, a family member or friend (or many in turn), with you 24/7 to take care of cooking and feeding both parents, doing all the laundry, and for back-up baby care.

-After the first week, continue to nurse the babies on demand--nurse at the first sign of hunger--rooting (chewing/sucking on hands, clothing, etc), open "searching" mouth, agitated movements, etc. During the day try to nurse at least every 2 hours. This will help the babies sleep longer at night if they are fed more often during the day.

-Expect the babies to be fussy and cluster nurse (feed very often/constantly), usually in the evening and during growth spurts. You will probably at some point feel like you are "out of milk" and that the babies seems hungry and unsatisfied. As long as this only happens for a day or two at a time (growth spurts), and/or during one part of the day, it is totally normal and DOES NOT MEAN the babies are overly hungry, starving, or that you need to supplement with f0rmula. Supplementing during times like these can be very dangerous and lead to a permanent (and spiraling) supply dip.

This cluster nursing usually lasts for the first 6-12 weeks.

-After the first six weeks, breastfeeding twins (just like with singletons) will become easier. By 6 weeks, the babies will usually be going at least two hours between feeds and sleeping longer stretches at night. Breastfeeding will become more routine and each nursing session will shorter. At this point it might be possible to only have two full-time adults taking care of: the twins, the Mom, and the house. ;-)

-Have CONFIDENCE in breastfeeding. It is difficult at times, but it really is perfect food for your babies, and a perfect "system" for Mom. There is no reason to question whether your babies are eating enough unless they aren't gaining weight. Otherwise, feed your babies at your breasts, watch the milk dribble from their chins, and KNOW that they will eat as much as they needs to eat, and your breasts will make it for him. Supply and demand. It's that simple, especially if you can do all of the things above.

-After the first 3 months, it can become REALLY easy. Most babies drop to 5-10 minute feedings every 2-3 hours and many are sleeping through the night, or only waking once or twice to nurse (again usually only for 5-10 mins). There is no warming bottles, mixing f0rmula, wondering if the baby ate enough or if you need more--you don't even have to get out of bed all night long! It is true that it can be challenging and demanding in the early days, but it totally pays off in the long run!

By 3/4 months, an energetic Mom (even an exclusively breastfeeding one) can probably handle her twins on her own with just a few hours of help (including a baby break) per week. As long as she has lots of snacks and isn't expected to do much else besides take care of the babies and feed herself. ;-)

-All problems can be solved. Seriously. Of course with twins more often than with singletons, supplementation with f0rmula or donor milk can be required, but this should not be seen as a failure. The goal should be to continue to provide as much breast milk as possible for as long as possible, and success shouldn't be judged on exclusively breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant with twins and would like to breastfeed, definitely get both Breastfeeding Made Simple (which I recommend to all pregnant ladies), and also Adventures in Tandem Nursing. This is an entire book about breastfeeding two: twins, while pregnant, an infant and a toddler, etc. There are personalized stories, photos and descriptions of good tandem positions, and general advice.

Generally, understand that exclusively breastfeeding twins is POSSIBLE most of the time--it is more normal than not for a Mom to have more than enough milk to feed two babies. What is going to make it really happen though is having the right help and support in the beginning. The Mom needs to be waited on hand and foot and should NOT be the primary caretaker of the babies. Her only job should be to breastfeed (for at least 6 weeks)--this approach will make success easier. With the appropriate support, even a Mom of twins can have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship with her babies!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

james' own room?

I just realized that another goal I had by the time james was 6 months was to have the room across from ours cleaned out so that we could start decorating it as a Toddler room for james. I'm thinking I'll transition him into napping in there first, between 9-12 months (whenever it's finished being decorated and it's ready). And then sometime between 12-18 months I can start transiting him to sleeping in it during (most) of the night. So that's my goals on james' room situation!

My progress at this point--welllll, there has been some. The room is particularly problematic because when I was pregnant and trying to get the rest of the house prepared and cleaned and ready for a baby, I basically stuck all of the most-difficult-to-deal-with-junk (for instance, boxes of old bills, paperwork, tax info, old journal print outs, all my stuff from teaching, boxes of clothes that don't fit, etc) into this one room so that I could keep a good flow on the rest of the cleaning . . . so then it was crammed full of stuff and very overwhelming.

We started making progress on it a few months ago when we cleaned out a lot of stuff. And since then we've gone a couple times and just spent 10-15 mins trying to clean, organize, and throw away trash and useless junk. So it's improving. Also part of why it's improving is that some of what was in it was gear, toys, diapers, and clothes for james that were too big and waiting to be used. Well now that he's five months old, I'm shocked how completely we've depleted the waiting stash. He's in 9 month stuff now (and six month stuff with a crotch extender), and in a few more months we'll start needing to actually shop for clothes for him because we've finally used most that we got at our shower!

Anyway, back to the room--we've made some progress. But we need to decide what to do with some of the things in there:
-The desk that is in there (and the one we have downstairs here). I'm thinking of setting up a computer/bills area somewhere and potentially we could put both of our desks there . . .
-And we need a place to put the filing cabinets (two small metal ones), and we have about 5 boxes of bills and paperwork to go through. That will be the hard part, going through all of that stuff. Ideally, we'd condense everything into the two filing cabinets and put them near our desk area!
(And ideally we would clean out the garage and sell a bunch of stuff (from that room and from the garage) at a garage sale this summer and/or fall, but that's more a 9 month goal I guess, haha.)

So maybe I'll be able to work more on that this week. I'm REALLY excited to paint and have a great idea for the room but I'll need to work on it. It needs a lot of planning still. A rough idea is that it will be a woodland scene with trees, birds and animals. The ceiling will look like the blue sky. But when you turn out the lights there will be glow-in-the dark stars and constellations! So fun!

I'm going to design it as a room for all my children to use between 1ish and 5ish (or when-ever they get pushed out by younger siblings). Since it's right across from us, it will be easy to put up a baby gate at night so they can reach us without the danger of stairs or getting into the rest of the house.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bed-sharing Night One

So we've always co-slept with james at night. He has always slept in an on-the-bed co-sleeper, so that he could be swaddled and have his own little space and we wouldn't have to worry about him. While he was very tiny I really needed this to feel secure with him because I was SO worried about covers and pillows and blankets, and whether the adult mattress is safe for the baby.

Now understanding more deeply the absolute lack of movement that a swaddled baby has (unable to turn over or bring blankets up toward the face), I already am guessing I will be slightly less paranoid for our second baby . . .

But secretly I've always wanted to just have him in the big bed with us. When he's there, he stares into my eyes, touches my face, and then looks around happily for awhile, kicking and wiggling or calm and peaceful, sometimes playing with the sheets or comforter or a toy . . . it is so sweet and special to be able to snuggle up with him in the night or morning . . .

So now that he's getting a bit more sturdy and getting toward the age when people stop swaddling, I wanted to give it a go with him unswaddled in the big bed with us all night to see how it would go.

And basically it did not go well, for two reasons which are both solvable.

1. I think he still needs the swaddle. He will not sleep longer than about 2 hours unswaddled, even when he was snuggled up to me.

2. He is a HOT SWEATY baby with a cold clammy Mom, hahah. Meaning that I want to be all covered up but if he's snuggled up next to me (partially) covered up--he gets so hot in his sleep that sweat just pours off of him. I woke up to his entire clothes and the sheets around him (and, therefore, me) being soaked in a way that doesn't seem like pee.

Soooooo, not sure what's going to happen with that as the summer approaches. James said he wanted to get a better air conditioner for our room so maybe that would help? But it's not like our room was hot last night and it happened anyway! Maybe if we can get the right kind of pajamas or lack thereof it would be okay?

I guess I'll see if we can keep him in the swaddle and cosleeper until he's six months and see if it goes better then, or perhaps start transitioning into bed-sharing after a middle of the night wake-up or something. We'll see.

But that was bed-sharing night one

Wordless Wednesday: Guest Post

Thanks to my good friend Clare for being my guest blogger today! Clare is an amazing artist/photographer/teacher/animal lover/friend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adoption Decisions

James and I talked the other night and came to a few decisions about our adoption process (subject to change at any time, obviously!):

-We are not ready to start planning this, even if it would take 5-6 years to adopt from China and that was our original country and timeline.

-Russia will probably be a better option than China.
+The adoptions are quicker, so we could realistically wait 4 more years before beginning this process and could still be bringing our child(ren) home in 6 years.
+There are less restrictions about family size, parental age, how young the other children are, etc.
+My sister-in-law is Russian so our child(ren) would have the opportunity to spend his/her summer there with his/her Aunt and cousin(s). It is important to me that our child(ren) be able to have a tie with his/her/their homeland. We were originally thinking China because we have a lot of Chinese friends and exposure to the Chinese Culture, but realistically, Russia is actually a better option and our child(ren) would be able to speak Russian at family gatherings with their Aunt and cousins? That's amazing!

-And our final decision: We might be more interested in a sibling set (2 biological siblings), one infant, one 2 or 3. We discussed how much it might mean to our children to have a biological sibling--instead of being one among us, he/she would have someone who has gone through what they have gone through, common interests, etc. In terms of the healing that needs to happen with adopted children (especially older ones)--we think having a biological sibling will be huge, especially in their adult lives. Plus you can usually get "discounts" (seems like a weird word for it but yeah), meaning that it might not cost too much more to adopt two children than it costs to adopt one.

So that's that! This means I can spend the next 3 years or so endlessly researching international/Russian adoption and be totally "in the know" when we do decide we are ready to begin this process. So this may be the last you'll hear about it for a long while, ;-)

My first Siggy!

So as part of the message boards I'm on, we have "signatures", a picture with our name (or just a name, sometimes) . . . I shared one before that someone else had made me . . .

Anyway, I used Picasa and Picnik to make my first one and I was proud of myself and wanted to share!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Schedule/Nap Update

So as you might recall, my original goal was: "I'm hoping by the time he's 6 months old, I can get him into a 3-naps-of-at-least-an-hour-at-specific-times sort of daily routine." So I wanted to give an update on how we are doing compared to when I set that goal when he was 4 months old (about 6 weeks ago) . . .

Well, we definitely have him napping at pretty specific times, which seems to work for him. This is how our day usually goes:

-Wake up around 6/6:30, nurse in bed, Daddy changes and plays with and then puts in his swing about an hour later.
-Take this first early morning nap in his swing from 7:30-8:30. Wakes up at 8:30, we get up and get dressed, nurse, play, etc.
-Second nap, we start doing the routine (change, read books, nurse, rock) around 9:30 and he falls asleep between 10-10:30.
-Third nap we start the routine at 12:30 and he falls asleep between 1-1:30.
-Fourth nap, routine and then asleep around 3-3:30. (But sometimes he skips this one and won't fall asleep).
-Fifth nap, asleep anytime between 5-6:30 (and this one is usually short, like a half hour, and he sometimes skips this one, too, on days that he doesn't skip the other one, hehe).
-Down for the night around 7:30/8.

Sooo, let's see:
-I wanted 3 naps, right now we've got 5. HOWEVER, you could sort of consider the first wakeup as sort of a false one. He nurses for a LONG time, gets changed, and then wants to play for like 10 mins and then is tired again. So we're sort of only on 4. AND he is definitely transitioning the last two naps into one big afternoon nap, I think, since sometimes he skips one or the other.
-I wanted them to be at least an hour, and I can report (nearly) relative success on this front! Typically he does nap for right around an hour--at least 45 mins and sometimes like an hour and a half. Except for that last nap, as I mentioned which can be kind of short (and if it was longer he'd be up too late anyway).
-I wanted them to be at specific times, and again, we've had great success on this front!! The only nap that can vary is the last one probably because he's going to drop it. He's definitely able to be kept awake even when he's tired, and the schedule can shift if he randomly sleeps longer or wakes up earlier, but it's basically pretty regular!

So this is my progress on the goals I'm working toward by james' 6 month birthday and I think we're doing great so far!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

James' Vegan Easter Basket!

I intend to get on later and post about our Easter but in case I don't (or either way), I wanted to share about James' Easter basket (which I was so excited about that I made on Thursday and am up at 1:30am on Saturday morning blogging about it, :P)!

So I started with an Easter Basket.

Then I created "grass" from tissue paper. I rolled the tissue paper up into a long wrap . . .
. . . and then I cut "slices" off of it . . .
. . . which, when unrolled, made long paper grasses! I needed a lot more than I thought, so I ended up adding white paper, too, so I could line the bottom with that, and then put the colored grasses on top . . .
So I filled up the basket with the grasses, and then it was all ready to be filled with Easter goodies!

For a 5 month old baby, this includes absolutely zero edibles, though I was honestly tempted but could think of nothing I was willing to give him that I would put inside an Easter Egg. . . . I'll admit now I ended up getting more than I meant to, but he actually "needed" (will USE anyway), most of it!

Firstly, three books. One, which I am currently realizing I neglected to photograph, a board book about a bunny. Two, a version of Old MacDonald that is a glove and each finger is a different animal puppet, hehe, with a little book on the palm. Also neglected to photograph that until after it was wrapped, but look how pretty I made it!

And the third book, which didn't actually end up fitting in the basket, a Peter Rabbit Easter pull-the-tabs book--it is very cute!

Another thing I forgot to take a picture of before wrapping was these strap covers I got him. Let's see if I can find a demo pic online . . . sort of like these . . . but instead of animals there are just bright colored "buttons" for him to look at/chew on/play with. Anyway, here's what they looked like after I wrapped them!

And there were plenty of other things in his Easter basket, too. A little stuffed bunny, a card from grandma, and the plastic eggs with some change in them for his (future) savings account! And, let's be honest, the eggs themselves will be an awesome toy I'm sure.

Anyway, here's the final product! Can't wait to get some cute pics of James with it on Easter!

Obviously I had far too much fun making up my first Easter basket! ;-)

P.S. Have to give myself big props at 2:30 am for mastering along-side photo publishing which really was a struggle, but I made it through!

Old School Sunday: Friends and Me

If you haven't heard about my new blog series "Old School Sunday", read the back story!

And if you want, catch up on what you missed (read from the bottom up!)

I was getting to the end of the semester of my Freshman year . . .

9th April 2002
Current Mood: happy

You know, it seems like all my friends lives are falling apart. Some of them are dating bad guys, most of them are having financial trouble, some of those that are in school are doing badly, and some of them are even having trouble with their families/being kicked out of them houses, etc etc. And in one way I feel horrible. In one way it feels like MY life is upside down too, because all the people that I have known forever have changed so dramatically that I feel like I've lost something too.

But you know, my life is NOT upside down. My life is good. -I am done with my half of the tuition, and while it was stressful to pay that much money out, it was rewarding too. I had to earn the money and be responsible with it and I was. -I feel like I've been a good friend to all my friends, to the point of sacrificing things that I wanted. But again, it was worth it because friendship is important. -My grades are good. They are. School is good. I am on top of all this registration/major declaring/financial aid/etc. I have been responsible about school and I am proud of myself. -I am in love with a great guy who makes me laugh and laugh and who would give me anything I asked and who I love being with and spending time with.

My life is good. And I'm really proud of myself. My parents haven't been here. All this is MY doing. And it's all good.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Alright I am finally writing about AAT!

AAT stands for Advanced Allergy Therapeutics . It is a new treatment for allergies based on acupressure.

When you describe it to someone it probably sounds super new-agey and hoaky but it totally works.

I guess there was this scientist who worked at NASA who somehow had reason to figure out that when people ate certain foods, certain areas of the brain lit up. So he isolated all the different foods and components (somehow). Then he figured out which electrical impulse would stimulate the same brain activity (as if the allergen had been introduced). Now, it is well known that muscle weakness can be observed if someone is exposed to an allergen.

So you go in there, and you get this cuff hooked on your arm and they send the electrical signal through and try to push your arm down. This part is really remarkable and you have to feel it for yourself but your arm literally becomes like a noodle and loses all strength, compared to just a second before, if they send an allergen through to you. So in this way they find out all your allergens and sensitivities. The initial testing session is long, like an hour, I think.

Then after that you go in for 15 min treatment sessions. They send one allergen at a time and it's related components through the cuff, and then they use this tool to stimulate the acupressure points up and down the spine. This is supposed to "reset" the brain's reaction to the allergen, so that it no longer interprets the stimulus as bad, preventing the immune reaction that an allergy is.

And as much as it might sound crazy it works. James (the hubby) went, in a handful of treatments, from spending 10-15 mins every single morning sneezing and blowing his nose to never doing it. Just like that.

So Ya-ling (our chiropractor friend) has found that certain things are more important to treat than others. She always treats histamines first. See, people that have a lot of allergies and sensitivities are almost always ALSO allergic to histamines. Your body releases histamines in response to an allergen. But when people are also allergic to histamines, then this response triggers a cascade of continually releasing histamines which makes the response to ALL allergens worse. So she does this first.

Next she does digestive mucus and fermentation toxins. If these are not functioning correctly, they will cause your body to over-react to everything, similar to histamines, since these things are involved in the digestion of ALL food. Luckily james was not sensitive to either of these things so we didn't need to do that on him.

So next we tested him for food preservatives, colors, and dyes. I think he was just allergic to one (dyes? I forget), so we did that next.

At this point (maybe 2 weeks ago now) I decided to start coming in twice a week. My back has been really messed up (just from stress), and I figured I could use the extra adjustments and that way we would get more food groups treated sooner.

So then I decided to do soy, because it is a really huge part of my diet and not avoiding it would make everything a lot easier.

And then last week I did chocolate--perhaps it doesn't seem like an important food group, but for me it is. And some things make life worth living, LOL. And tomatoes--we picked tomatoes because out of a few different things he was most sensitive to that, and it's a pain in the neck avoiding ketchup and tomatoes because they are veggies and I am used to eating them on sandwiches and stuff.

And then on Monday we did yeast. He was very allergic to it and it's one of the things I haven't even been trying to avoid because it's just too much, so it was good to get treated. He was allergic to more than six components of it so we have to take two sessions to do it, so we finished yeast on Wednesday.

Anyway, it definitely seems to be helping a lot. He is breaking out some still but I haven't been avoiding things in general as strictly. He is DEFINITELY not reacting to soy, chocolate, or tomatoes as much as he WAS, but he might still be reacting a little bit (which I can totally live with). So we're going to keep going with it and hopefully soon I won't have to be very careful at all about what I am eating.

I am still going to careful about what actual foods I give him, and might try to avoid feeding him most of the foods he was originally allergic to until he's closer to a year or two. But yeah things are progressing!

And I would definitely encourage anyone dealing with food allergies (or any kind of illness, sickness or problem, really, food sensitivities are the basis of more issues than you might think!) to look up where there are AAT treatment centers near you, and give it a try--totally worth the money, in my opinion!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Photo Friday: Hard at Play

Perhaps my baby did inherit a few of my personality traits! Recently, I've noticed a change in james' play behavior.

He plays HARD. He is very serious about it all of a sudden.

He loves this cup so much that I can't even let him play with it for too long or he gets in too much of a frenzy.

He loves reading and books--especially the kind he is allowed to chew on.

I actually think that he might be starting to teeth again. (After nothing happening on that front since last I spoke of it.)

So today I gave him a frozen breast milk stick to chew on in a snack cup.

He LOVED it and "ate"/melted into his clothes almost an entire ounce!

His joy of playing is beginning to extend to food. See for yourself how much fun he had with his avocado!

Anyway, the sense of busy purpose he has about himself is very much in his Mother's shoes and I couldn't be prouder of my smart busy little bee.

Our 6 am

Alright I fully intend to get back on here for a Photo Friday post later . . .

However, our morning was so . . . interesting? . . . that I wanted to tell you all about it.

You might want to read my previous blog-business/nicknames post first!

So our friends Amy and Karl were over last night--it was really nice to see them because they've both been very busy over the last six months with school and work, but this week was April break and since they are both educators they had some time to visit us this week.

So it was really fun seeing them but we definitely stayed up late. I mean, the night before last I went to sleep at 7--I fell asleep nursing james to sleep and was unwilling to move until morning. But that was definitely an early night for me. But I would definitely say we go to bed by 10 most nights now, and some nights I fall asleep on the couch watching TV and then James rouses me and moves me upstairs.

Anyway, last night I took adderall pretty late (maybe 4ish?), and Amy and James made cupcakes after we had dinner and even though I'd been tired before, once I got a few cupcakes into my system, I started getting a second wind!

Then Amy and Karl left (around 11:30 or 12) but I needed some down time before going to bed. James, meanwhile, fell asleep immediately on the couch. So I watched TV, surfed the net, hung out, and at nearly 2 am I realized how late it was when james started fussing for his middle-of-the-night feeding. I was in the middle of this Cosby episode where Denise gives birth so I brought james downstairs to nurse him while I finished watching the episode. Eventually I ended up holding his little, sleeping, swaddled, glow-worm self in my arms while I watched the show. And then my arms got tired so I laid down on the couch with him on the outside edge (I would be worried about him suffocating along the cushion side), with my hand on him to finish watching the show. Annnnnd, that was all she wrote.

I awoke this morning to James yelling: "OH MY GOD, WHERE'S JAMES?" He had awoken in the morning, thought it was so weird that we'd slept all night downstairs without james waking us, went to check on him, couldn't find him upstairs (in swing, cradle, or bed), and freaked out.

When he started yelling like that I totally freaked out/woke up, since that's my worst nightmare, waking up to find something has happened with james . . . and when I sat up, his little swaddled self slid feet first to the rug and then he flopped forward on his face. It all happened so fast it was like slow motion--sitting up in a panic only to watch james fall to the floor, and wanting to intervene but being too slow. :-/

Of course he started crying, but I honestly think it was mostly because of the rude awakening. He's flopped harder than that onto beds and couches and laughed--he really wasn't hurt at all--being swaddled like that and just the way he slid and then tipped over--it was really fine.

But of course then James comes rushing downstairs in a panic (almost as it's happening) being like: "Oh my God, what happened? Oh God I didn't know where he was!"

We all were just sitting there in a half-awake panic on the couch in a weird state of "everything was/is actually totally fine but we completely freaked ourselves out." James especially was totally freaked. I can only imagine going up there and not being able to find the baby--I would have freaked too.

We sat there in a fast-breathing pile, in a strange state of timelessness, still in the clothes we fell asleep in last night. Anyway, after a nursing, james was happy and smiling again, which made it easy to recover. But yeah, not super restful.

Anyway, after that, James went to work, james went into his swing, and I was able to go back to sleep. And later when he woke up again, I just got into bed with him and nursed/slept and then let him play quietly next to me while I prepared myself to get up. So it ended up being okay.

But man, what a rude awakening!

James' Nicknames

Okay this is sort of a blog-businessy post. Skip to the bold text for the important blog related message!!

I will start by saying that in our house both the husband and baby are called James. There are rare and typically humorous incidents where the referent wasn't obvious based on the context of the dialog. Normally it is not an issue.

Sometimes in conversation with others and in my blog, in order to distinguish between, we might say: Little James/Big James, Baby James/hubby James, James David/James Beaumont, etc. But honestly none of these are really that pleasing to me (though more so than Jim or Jimmy)--I do sort of like LJ, which he occasionally gets called (just like the sound of it)--and Jamsey, I think is cute--(big) James' good friend Michelle used to call him that so it's a fond nickname to us already.

But I recently came across a nickname/pen name that I really like. j. Like, little J. I don't know I just think it's cute (more a cute idea, we aren't calling him "Jay" or anything).

But, in order to make things more clear AND in order to reflect the actual words in my thought process, from now on I will refer to my husband, James Beaumont, as James. And I will refer to my son, James David, as james.

A subtle but effective delineation if I don't say so myself.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I (heart) you, Blog!

Well in my usual late-ish fashion, I realized yesterday that the previous day was the one year anniversary of me beginning this blog (for all intents and purposes), wrote this about that, and then forgot to publish yesterday, making this two days "late", oh well close enough.

Anyway, I started this blog in 2008 with the intent to blog about my pregnancy. I thought that happened for a couple of entries in 2009, but alas, it didn't really happen until Feb of 2010. And it was April before I felt secure enough in my little guy to begin the pregnancy blog that I had dreamt of starting way back then.

Here's my entry about finally being pregnant, a year and a day ago today.

It's strange to think about the blog being a year old. I can't believe what it has turned into in that time--what I've turned into?

Recently I mentioned it to a few people. An old college friend, Sean; he has a website, too, Kemba Facts (UConn is our Alma Mater). And my mother-in-law, who'd known about it but she is forgetful (another relative with probable ADHD, LOL), so I reminded her . . .

Anyway, both times when I mentioned it, I felt something. It made me smile while I was talking about it. Pride. I am proud of this blog. I know I'm no literary genius, but I post nearly every day. And when I think about the fact that I only started it a year ago, and didn't start posting pictures regularly for months, and now I have pages and over the last year, have cataloged so much about my pregnancy, about James, our life, and maybe even some helpful information about breastfeeding and birth and pregnancy . . . it does make me proud!

I'm trying to think about myself differently--as a writer. As I've talked about before, I've always been but have trouble thinking of myself as. But I mean, I COULD write something and submit it to Mothering Magazine or another magazine or website or something. Over the last year I've written about 300 entries. Sure, most of these wouldn't be of any interest to the general public, but maybe 10 of them are? Or even 3 . . . still, I have a base of writing to pull from if I ever wanted to do more with it. So why AREN'T I a writer? I've only been at this for a year, this is good progress to me so far, so even if I haven't gotten very far yet, if I am able to continue progressing at the same rate, I have a good shot at . . . well whatever I decide to try to do, right?

And for that reason, I love you, blog. I love being able to record James' life, and to get my crazy thoughts and feelings out--it's very cathartic.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Five Months Old!

My darling baby is five months old today.

I can't believe it. In one more month he will be half a year old! And so much is changing so quickly it's hard to imagine what he'll be like in 6 more months when he's nearly a year old!

Some of James' new things this month are blowing raspberries/spit bubbles. As if he didn't drool enough already, now he can send even more massive amounts of liquid out of his mouth. He sure is proud of himself when he does it, too, LOL!

While I wrote last month that he has just rolled over for the first time the day before, now a month later he still has yet to do it more than say, half a dozen times (from front to back). He has not yet rolled back to tummy either (but I think he is getting much closer!). He IS getting slightly more fond of tummy time but I've neglected to do it very often, so that's a goal for this month, hehe.

He is getting better at sitting, needing less and less support from us or cushions and chairs. I think he is THIS close to "tripod sitting" (supporting himself with his hands).

He now REALLY REALLY loves his bouncer, and has now figured out that he can turn it totally around to sample the different toys that are there--he is really into it. We still need to prop a book under him so he can reach the ground (and blankets around him so he doesn't topple), but he is really loving it.

And he LOVES "standing", with his legs straight and his arms and/or body supported. Sometimes when we try to make him sit he refuses to bend and will only stand, LOL.

He is also getting better and better at using his hands--he can grab, say, the handle of a cup with a targeted motion with both hands. And he LOVES his Tommee Tippee Sippy Cup. It's almost too stimulating for him--he gets frustrated and over excited with it after a while and I need to take it away to let him calm down, haha.

He is starting to get better at "playing" with food, as I wrote about before . . . he's still not really to the eating stage but he's nearly there!

We've continued his nap routine (change diaper, read books, nurse, rock to sleep/put in swing) with some diligence. At the very least he is definitely getting more patient and focused about reading. Now we can read for short periods from books with hardly any pictures. For example, I read him a mini-chapter of the Little Prince during many of the reading sessions. He really loves the simple squishy page books, or board books, though. James was telling me that he would even turn the pages himself if presented with them . . .

He continues to be an interminably happy baby. He barely ever cries and just laughs and smiles and plays and is a baby all day long. Cutie.

He is starting to be a distracted nurser...
...(look for my Wordless Wednesday post tomorrow for more), which means that for a lot of his feeds he is not getting a full bellyful. I guess he makes up for it at other times? Unfortunately that often means during the night, but it's okay.

I am now a pro at nursing lying down and pretty much exclusively do that at night. We are still swaddling him but I'm THIS close to stopping swaddling and starting to transition to full-time bed-sharing (he's up until now been in an on-the-bed co-sleeper, swaddled).

Everyone just loves him so so much.

I've been falling more and more in love with him recently, as his personality grows and his good humor shows through more and more. Sometimes we snuggle and he just laughs and touches my hair and face, I LOVE HIM!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Movie Monday: Explorations with Bananas

Over the last month, I have been letting James "try" eating every week or so. Pretty much exclusively with banana. In this series of videos from 4 months and one week until 5 months, you can see him getting better and better with banana!

Here is James having his first taste of banana at 4 months plus one week. He showed interest so I let him try. However in 15 minutes this is definitely the most successful he gets:

I waited a week and then tried again. This time, at 4.5 months, he manages to take a "bite" but just gags on it and spits it out. Gagging is perfectly safe and is not to be confused with CHOKING, which it actually PREVENTS.

And here is a few days later, getting better still:

A minute later, you see him using my hand as a tool for self-feeding--a common strategy among young self-feeding babies!

Finally here he is at almost five months. At this point you see he is able to use multiple strategies to suck, lick, and otherwise "eat" the banana.

I still don't think he's eaten very much, but I think in 2 more weeks he might be starting to!

Thoughts on Adoption

I have mentioned on here and in person to various friends and family offhand that we are thinking about adoption.

Adopting is something I've always thought of doing. My sister's boyfriend's family is a great example for me. His Mom was adopted, and his sister was adopted (from Korea? Vietnam? I should know but I'm not sure).

My sister has been dating her boyfriend for like . . . 7 years now. And in that time me and my sisters have talked often about adoption. Some have said that they don't want to have biological children and ONLY adopt (one more motivated by population issues, the other more motivated by "fear and unwillingness to push a baby out of her"), but later may have softened on that point. But I think all of us feel open to adoption (or primarily committed to it) as a way to grow our families, so it's something that's always been present on my mind.

But something changed in an acute way after having James. The postpartum and nursing hormones turned stories of abandoned children into the stuff nightmares are made of. And suddenly my thoughts and mind are haunted by an image of babies lined up in cribs on their backs, rows upon rows, and just feeling the connection I have with James, and feeling as if the bond between Mom and Babe is almost holy, the thought of babies out there without a Mom just makes me cry every single time I fully indulge it. So lonely and cold and hungry and wanting someone to love them! AH.

And so I suppose I feel most called to International Adoption--the most expensive and longest taking of all! Lucky me, haha. No but I do seriously feel lucky. And my heart is already connected to our little (daughter?) and I feel totally as if she is meant to be in our family. However she probably isn't even born yet, haha, but still! I feel the same connection toward my future next biological child and I felt the same connection to James while we were trying-to-conceive him.

But ironically planning an adoption is like "planning to try-to-conceive, trying (for a WHILE), and being pregnant" all in one--that is--it takes a LONG time. Especially International Adoption.

So even though my feeling about our adoption is that it is something for the future--like 5 or 6 years down the line--strangely, we should begin the process now and/or within the next year? It's crazy but true!

It's overwhelming and crazy but I'm totally excited at the same time. I guess the first step now is really to learn more--knowing me that means beginning (even more than I already do) to read more and more adoption blogs, and start to research which country will be the best option for us. Eeeek--it is super exciting. It feels very much like planning for any baby, to me--when to try and what that will mean for your life . . .

Okay, I am going to try to publish a Movie Monday post later today, as well!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Old School Sunday: Seven and a Half Hours Later

If you haven't heard about my new blog series "Old School Sunday", read the back story!

During my first few years of college I worked at the dining hall and pizza/calzone "grab and go", first as a general student worker and later as a manager. I worked 16 hours a week average and took a full course load which I was paying half for out of pocket with this money . . . it was hard but rewarding.

At this point I was getting toward the end of my freshman year and having trouble getting everything done (especially because I had yet to get diagnosed with ADHD and start taking medication . . .

But here we see what a shift at work could do for my state of mind . . . that's my ADHD self, I'm better when I'm busier . . .

27th March 2002
4:14pm: School
Current Mood: HATEFUL

I' m extremely disappointed in myself. Very Very.

The first month of school my average in every subject was an A. I got A's on all my first exams, life was dandy. The second month of school might have permanently fucked me over. I can't even believe I did this. I probably failed my Soc midterm, I got a 65 on my 2nd Bio exam, I had a portfolio due yesterday that I probably didn't do great on, and I had a paper due yesterday that I haven't done, STILL, and it's 20 percent off per day and I might already be down to 60 by now . . . I haven't even been going to class and I am BETTER THAN THIS. I CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE WHAT A FUCKING LOSER I AM. YOU SUCK.

11:43pm: Postivity
Current Mood: productive

I am feeling really good. I was just at work for the past 3 hours, and I worked really hard, because there were a TON of people at the calzone place tonight. We sold 100 more calzones than average. It was crazy and there were only a few mistakes the whole night. And I worked hard and I feel good about it. Now I am going to read this book and write this paper and turn it in tomorrow. Sixty points is better than 0, and maybe she'll give me a break. But blowing it off would be worse than the best I can STILL do. And that's saying something.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cosleeping: Why Could Cosby get Away with it?

I feel like there are a lot of ideas and things packed into this blog post. Sorry if it's a bit fragmented but I think there's a common thread . . .

My sister and her roommates and my Mother-in-law were all over here the other day and someone brought up the case of a 7 or 8 (they weren't quite sure) year old boy who was still breastfeeding and how shocking this was. Now, I am a huge advocate of extended breastfeeding, and so, some part of me wanted to (and did) defend this family. But I am forced to admit that 8 is quite old--would be too old for me. Still, I have heard of cases (in more supportive cultures than the US) of children breastfeeding until age 9. That seems to be pretty much the oldest that I've ever heard of.

The story about the family continued, though, that the father of the child had been complaining because he'd been kicked out of the bed and the Mom and child were cosleeping in their bed. "So clearly," I expressed to the group, "there are issues there beyond breastfeeding." Which there are, because the father was unhappy . . .

However, when did cosleeping (especially with an older child) get such a bad rap? I'm totally all about cosleeping in general and yet THIS was the thing about the story that I had the most judgement in my heart about, and why?

This morning I was thinking about this, and about the Cosby show, which I've watched recently with much enjoyment. Cliff Huxtable was an Obstetrician and known far and wide as THE parent. The one raising his kids right and sending them to college and keeping them out of trouble and honest. And what happened almost every night of the show? 5, 6, 7, 8 year old Rudy would be there at the door saying: "I had a bad dream, can I sleep with you?" and climbing in bed with her parents and snuggling up. More than that, 10, 11, and 12 year old Vanessa was sometimes accompanying her. Or her father would come home from delivering a baby and find one or two of his young daughters in his place in bed next to his wife, and he would retire to the couch or carry them into their beds or snuggle up in the bed with them.

But he was never ASHAMED about it. At a time not that long after the first TV COUPLE shared a bed, very scandalously, we have a whole family bed-sharing together, and not on "Married with Children", on the freaking Cosby Show.

So why the judgement? I'm asking myself as much as the next guy.

I think for some reason now-a-days, co-sleeping and bed-sharing and especially "the Family Bed" is so looked down upon. Of all the parenting decisions I have made, the fact that I don't yet own a crib and pretty much plan to bedshare with my baby (he currently sleeps in an on-the-bed cosleeper) is the one I have gotten the MOST flack over.

Yet? I'm pretty sure that like the 75% of the world cosleeps for the first 2-5 years of the baby's life. I know in China they do, and let's be honest, that's like half the population right there. But seriously, cribs are not a worldwide thing--or if they are it's only the richest 25% of people worldwide.

Honestly, I, myself, am nervous about cosleeping because of the aggressive campaigns against it in the United States, claiming that it is unsafe.

Of course as with any other infant sleeping arrangement, it has to conform to certain rules--a firm, flat mattress, no excess pillows or blankets around the baby (and none around the baby while it is tiny). Neither parent (sharing the bed) should smoke or be under the influence, and the Mom should be breastfeeding. All these things make cosleeping 100% safe.

Honestly since seeing the video I posted a while back about how 100% of bedsharing deaths were in the case of f0rmula fed babies (in whatever studies they examined, I don't know if that is UNIVERSALLY true), I have been able to put in check the fear caused by those smear campaigns. Personally I'm waiting for James to start rolling over more consistently (before I let him stay directly in the bed with us, unswaddled, instead of in the cosleeper, swaddled) because I want to make sure that he'd be able to right himself if he somehow rolled over, but even this is being excessively cautious. I have sleep shared with him a bit here and there, getting ready to do it full time, and from what I have observed it is 100% safe. My body is 100% aware of James even when I am asleep. Furthermore, I LOVE IT!

I can't tell you how ridiculously sweet it is to snuggle up to my baby in the morning or the middle of the night, and be able to kiss him little face and breathe in his little smell and have his little hands touch my face or his little eyes look into mine and his little body all calm or wiggly . . . It's just like being bathed in love.

So I'm not going to judge this (other) family for what they are choosing to do. Hopefully things work out for them. And just wanted to give a last shout out to extended breastfeeding, which has many health and emotional benefits (for the Mom and child) for as long as it lasts, has never been shown to have ANY negative effect on the child or mother. (Emotional/family problems, like babying your son and ignoring your husband, are going to be problems whether extended breastfeeding is present or not, but breastfeeding is always blamed in situations like that.)

I think as always it comes down to personal preference--parents should (and probably do) do what makes them most comfortable, and who are any of us to judge . . . every kid is different and every parent is different, so every parent-kid relationship is unique and has it's own dynamics.

(And if anyone who was present at this conversation reads this, I'm speaking as much to what I thought/felt/said as to what you said, I didn't think anyone was being mean or overly judgmental, it just gave me something to think about!)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Photo Friday: Northampton (My First Guest Post!)

This is my first ever guest post! I asked my best/oldest friend (since we were ten) Mariclare to share a post on here about our trip almost a week ago to Northampton for Jessie's birthday!

Mariclare is an amazing photographer and painter, here is just a few samples! Check out her blog to see more of her painting and photography! And if you didn't ever see the amazing pregnancy painting she did for me, you should check that out, too.

Last Saturday, in honor of our friend Jessie's birthday, a few of us drove up to Northampton to spend the day.

Jessie, Adrienne, myself and our friend Amy try to get together once a year and spend the weekend in Northampton; this year, Amy couldn't make it, and our friend Clare joined us for the first time!

It's always good to all get together for this tradition; the way I see it, I don't have enough "girl time" in my life, and it's really fulfilling to spend time with close, long-time girlfriends.

Also this time, we had another first-timer join us and it was a BOY! And his name is James.

And he made the trip way fun.

He was like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae!

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