Tuesday, May 31, 2011

30 Day Non-Challenge

I've decided (for now) to play along with 1 in Vermillion and An Offering of Love's 30 Day Non-Challenge.

That said, it might be a few days before I get on-track since I have all kind of year-end deadlines happening right now.

Here's their list of questions:
Day 1 – Provide a picture of the space where you normally blog
Day 2 -Describe your high school self. What extracurricular activities, if any, did you participate in during high school?
Day 3 -What are your guilty pleasures?
Day 4 – (for parents) What has most surprised you about parenthood?
(for parents-to-be) What has most surprised you about ttc?
Day 5 -What do you prefer to do on your birthday? If you have children, what do you prefer to do for their birthday?
Day 6 – When was the last time you tried something new? What was it and what was the result?
Day 7 – What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? If you have children, what are their favorites?
Day 8 – If you had to teach something, what would you teach? (If you DO teach, when did you discover your love for teaching/the subject?)
Day 9 – What is the most important lesson you learned from your own mother (or other primary caretaker)?
Day 10 – Share your favorite recipe (or two)
Day 11 – In what ways does being a lesbian/2-mom family impact your experience of parenting?
Day 12 – Tell us about the first time you got drunk (as far as you can remember…)
Day 13 – Tell us about the best job you ever had, and the worst
Day 14 – How do you typically dress? How do you (or would you) like to dress your kid(s)?
Day 15 – What was your college experience like? Were you involved in any clubs, groups, etc?
Day 16 – How many friends do you have in real life that you talk to regularly? How many friends do you have that you feel are ‘true blue’ and how long have you known them?
Day 17 – (for parents) What is your favorite thing about parenthood? Your least favorite?
(for parents-to-be) What are you most looking forward to about parenthood?
Day 18 – How do you feel about astrology? What’s your sign, baby, and do you think it matches your personality?
Day 19 – How do you (and your partner if applicable) feel about PDA?
Day 20 – What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? Did you repay the kindness?
Day 21. What child(ren)’s names do you like that your partner hates and thus you could never use?
Day 22 – What is your most beloved childhood memory? What memories are you trying to create (or will you try to create) for your child(ren)?
Day 23 – What are your favorite activities to do with your kid(s)?
Day 24 – What are your favorite activities to do without your kid(s)? (keep it clean!)
Day 25 – What did you want to be when you grew up? Why and/or how did that change over time?
Day 26 – What is/are the best piece(s) of parenting advice you’ve gotten or can give others?
Day 27 – Which movies or tv shows do you think are the most accurate portrayals of parenthood?
Day 28 – What size family do you come from, what size family do you want, and why?
Day 29 – What do you think about giving kids an allowance, and what chores do you or would you expect your child(ren) to help out with?
Day 30 – What is/are the most memorable questions or reactions you’ve gotten in regards to being a two-mom family?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Wall in the Nursery

A few weeks ago we reshuffled some of the furniture in the nursery. The rocking chair kept bumping against the air conditioner that was behind it, so some bookshelves moved and the rocking chair moved and things seem to be working out much better now functionality-wise. But it means that the wall where the rocking chair is now, and some of the bookshelves once were, is completely empty, which makes me think it needs filling up!

I found this cool Ikea hack that takes a spice rack and turns it into a forward-facing bookshelf. I'm thinking it would be perfect for beside the rocker to hold The Bean's bedtime books. We could easily switch out the selection every week or two to keep things fresh.

I'm also thinking some new art from Etsy may be in order. I'm still enjoying my art selections from last post of Etsy finds I made, plus have found some new ones I'm digging:

Sarah Jane Studios

Sugar Fresh

Clever Apple

Penny People Designs

And lastly, this little guy is already on his way to our place (I couldn't resist)...

trafalgar's square

On the Bookshelf

Here are The Bean's bedtime books for this week:

Goodnight Moon
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
First Words
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Big Red Barn
The Pigeon Loves Things That Go!
Everywhere a Moo, Moo

First Words didn't seem as interesting as Farm did last week, even though it's a very similar book.

Goodnight Moon is such a classic, I feel like I don't need to describe it. I really liked Big Red Barn, also by Margaret Wise Brown.

Jen loves Dr. Seuss, so Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? is one that she read The Bean a couple of times during the week.

Going on Bear Hunt is the song illustrated. It's okay, but not a favourite at this point. Jen thought it was too long.

Again, Everywhere a Moo, Moo is just the song Old MacDonald. I like that it uses actual photos of animals in it. I'm finding that's something I'm quite partial to... not so much in stories, but in the touch and feel style books and ones about everyday objects and whatnot.

The Pigeon Loves Things That Go! was short and funny. Nothing spectacular, but something to get a little chuckle out of.

I've decided that rather than make this a weekly feature, I'm going to post monthly and only include books that we really liked or that are particularly fitting for the season. Please continue to share your children's favourite books. I love getting suggestions! (One of the parents of a student I taught last year just gave us a baby gift of a bookstore gift certificate that is burning a hole in my pocket!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Return of The Bean

Allison and I are pretty open online.  As you've seen, we post photos of The Bean on our blog, we upload additional photos to Facebook and Picasa so far-away relatives can see him.  I also upload short videos to YouTube so my parents can see him moving and grooving throughout the week.

Until our little guy was born we hadn't decided 100% on name.  Early on when he was still in my tummy, Allison called him The Bean and the nickname stuck (at the time, the pregnancy books said he was the size of a bean).  He's still a little guy, so I'd say the monicker is still accurate.

After he was born and we picked his name, we started using it on the blog, but this week we had a conversation and decided to go back to using The Bean.  As you can guess it's for privacy and security reasons.  I try not to be too paranoid about things like that, but let's face it, me not being paranoid would be somewhere between yellow and orange on the Homeland Security Advisory System.

So, as of today we are back to using The Bean.  I've gone through all of the old posts and replaced his name.  Apologies if my editing today messed up your feed reader - sometimes editing and re-publishing can do that. 

I hope you're all having a great week.  It's wonderful to see the sun shining more around here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

On the Bookshelf

Here are The Bean's bedtime books for this week:

Whistle for Willie
That's Not My Truck...
Chicka Chicka ABC
You Are My Sunshine
Baby Faces
The Gruffalo

That's Not My Truck and Farm (both touch and feel books) and Baby Faces were all big hits. They aren't long and managed to hold The Bean's attention. He LOVES looking a the Baby Faces book. I think we might end up getting another similar book since he seems to enjoy this one so much.

I liked You Are My Sunshine, because it's a song I sing to him often and the pictures are sweet.

Whistle for Willie and The Gruffalo didn't go over so well... while we enjoy the stories, they are too long for our boy when he is tired. Mommy didn't like Chicka Chicka ABC because the meaning of "boom boom" changes at the end. I'd have to say, there's not really much of a story line to begin with, but I still like the rhythm of it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sleeping and Miracles

We've swaddled The Bean since he was practically brand new. We started off with the traditional blanket swaddle, but he outgrew our blankets pretty quickly. Plus, I never was very good at origami and it showed in my swaddling technique.
The Bean in one of my swaddles

From there, we moved onto the Halo brand sleep sacks with swaddles and I thought they were a step up from the blankets. But, the velcro on the swaddles was a mixed blessing. It kept him swaddled more tightly, however when I scooped him up to nurse, the velcro would chew up whatever skin it came into contact with...stomach, side, nipples.


So, we unswaddled him to nurse and then swaddled him back up afterwards which was disruptive. The swaddles worked though, so we went with it.

Between months two and three Ollie was a regular Rip Van Winkle (or maybe Sleeping Beauty) and natch we thought we were the best parents in the world getting him to go down around six p.m. and sleep all the way through until four a.m. What were these sleep troubles that other parents spoke of? Maybe we could give them a little lesson.

(Well, hello there Pride. Are you going to teach us a thing or two?)

When he turned three months old reality decided to give us a slap in the middle of the night. Well, more like several slaps. One in the beginning of the night, one in the middle of the night, and another in the wee hours of the morning. It was like our guy was reverting back to a newborn waking up every two to three hours. Ugh.

I guess we weren't super-parents after all.

So, there he was waking up constantly. Busting out of the velcro. Kicking himself awake. Running laps in his co-sleeper. Busting out of the velcro again. And keeping Allison and me from getting anything resembling a decent night of sleep.

After a couple of weeks we needed to take action. This couldn't keep happening. Allison was exhausted at work. I wasn't much better at home.

Then I remembered a friend suggesting the Miracle Blanket. We checked them out online and they were pricey compared to other swaddles (including the Halo), but this particular friend had come through with some helpful suggestions in the past, so we bit.

The first night, we learned why "miracle" was in the name.

The Bean chllin' in his Miracle Blanket
He went down within minutes. I could nurse him and put him back in his co-sleeper bassinet without getting scratched by velcro and without having to move him all around. He didn't kick. He didn't fight to get his arms free.

It really WAS a miracle.

The Bean is back to going down around six or seven and only waking up one time during the night, usually between one and three o'clock.

Thank you Miracle Blanket.

Now, what do you have for teething?

Quick PS - We still like the Halo swaddle and use it for The Bean's daytime naps, but if I could only use one it would be the Miracle Blanket.
We also didn't get any sort of compensation for this post, but if someone from Miracle Blanket wants to send us another, we won't object. :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Four Month Stats

Blogger ate our four month update, so we'll have to go back and salvage what we can from the last drafted version. For now, here is the update from his pediatrician appointment on Friday. I didn't take the time off work to go, but I sort of wish I had. There were a few things that came up and I wish I had been there to hear what the doctor said first-hand and ask questions. Oh well. I'll make sure I make it to the next one.

The Bean is still measuring in on the low end. His weight was 11 lbs. 2.5 oz. and his length was 23.5 inches. Just under the 5th percentile for weight vs. length.

The pediatrician was a concerned about his iron levels and is going to send us to do some blood work and a sweat test. There were a number of smaller issues that I think brought him to that decision:
1) The Bean's pale.
2) He is is on the low end percentile-wise, although he has doubled his birth weight, which is what they're supposed to do by four months. The fact that Jen also asked about giving him Gripe Water may have also contributed to concern about his weight.
3) He still is showing signs of pelviectasis which I don't think I ever posted about, but will. (This is the reason we can't give him Gripe Water.)
and 4) That his eyelashes are so long, which is apparently a sign of low iron although I can't seem to find any information about it on the internet.

Developmentally he seems to be hitting all the milestones. So no concerns there.

I won't be that surprised if test results came back showing The Bean has low iron. Jen's had low iron levels on blood work in the past, so it stands to reason that The Bean's levels might be low too. It seems to be something that can be remedied fairly easily, so I'm not going to spend too much time worrying about it, although Googling things doesn't help!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On the Bookshelf

As we mentioned a little while ago, we're trying to start more of a bedtime routine with The Bean. Included in that is a bedtime story.

The Bean has hundreds of books. Some might say that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to buying books. (Although I don't really see it as a "problem".) Before we even started TTC we had at least a shelf full of children's books; many of them from when I was young, but also a good number that I had picked up for teaching or just because I liked them.

A love of reading is definitely something we want to foster in The Bean. He'll grow up seeing us reading, and we want to make reading a part of his day-to-day as well.

We tried having a little basket of books out in the living room, where we spend most of our time, but really weren't reaching for them often. So when we decided to start a bedtime routine, we made reading a story a part of it.

Usually The Bean's quite tired and starting to fuss when we're getting him ready for bed, so most of the books we chose this week we're short... just a few lines of text on each page. Maybe not so interesting for Mommy and Mama, but about what our baby can handle right now.

Here are this week's choices:

Farm Babies
Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type
The Going to Bed Book
Click Clack ABC
Zoe's Sunny Day
Welcome Spring
Biscuit Visits the Petting Zoo

As I said, these were mainly chosen for their brevity. All are board books, so we don't have to worry about The Bean ripping the pages. They also have bold artwork or photographs, which seem to capture his attention. Welcome Spring and Biscuit Visits the Petting Zoo are touch and feel books, which engage him just a little bit more.

Any parents out there with suggestions of books your kids have enjoyed, we'd love to hear them. Any parents-to-be, we hope this list is helpful. Feedback is appreciated, I might continue to try to do a weekly update of this sort, if there seems to be any interest. Alternately, I could post a little review of a book every week or so. Let us know what you'd like to see!

As an aside, I just finished John Irving's newest book, Last Night on Twisted River and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys his writing (quirky characters and story lines which require just a little bit of suspension of disbelief). IMO it's up there with Garp and Owen Meany.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Four Months Old!

Today The Bean is four months old!

Where did this past month go?!

The Bean seems to have had a growth spurt this month. I'm curious to get all his "stats" after his four month check-up on Friday.

-The Bean continues to be a social little guy. He still happily goes to anyone, but he is starting to show signs that he favours us. He adores his mommy and will smile at her and watch her walk around the apartment. He likes me too, but mommy is #1.

-He has become a real chatter box! It's hilarious when he gets going. He'll even have a "conversation" with pauses to let the other person talk.

-He loves lying on his playmat and batting at his toys, or sitting in his bouncy chair and playing with his toys. He'll reach out and grab for things, and often pull them into his mouth.

-We can now carry him facing forward in the Bjorn. He seems to enjoy looking around.

-He's really started moving this month. He can now turn from belly to back AND from back to belly! I don't think that it's intentional, but it is fairly consistent.

-As a result of all his movement, The Bean now has a ring around his head where his hair has been rubbed off. I've seen other babies with a little patch right in the back, but his goes from ear to ear. It'll grow back in eventually. I hope.

-The Bean got his SECOND haircut this past Sunday. It gets really long and wispy around his ears, so I trimmed that up as well as taking a little off in the back.

-He is now wearing all of his 0-3 month clothes and has even outgrown a few things. We have his 3-6 month stuff ready to go.

-Breastfeeding hurdles seem to be in the past and The Bean latches himself now. He still goes for around ten minutes at a time and not for those 30 or 45 minute marathon sessions that we've heard about. Maybe those are still to come?

-He got off of the overnight schedule he was on last month. We've had a couple of rough nights over the past few weeks and decided to start trying to put him on a wake-up/bedtime schedule. We're only a couple of days in so I can't really predict how it will go, but hopefully it helps.

We're enjoying watching this little baby grow. It happens so quickly, so it's nice to take this time to reflect on it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It Was an Honor Just Being Nominated

But we want to finish at the top!

We've been nominated as one of the Top LGBT Parent Blogs by Circle of Moms.

Please go to Circle of Moms and vote for us so we can finish in the top 10!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chicken Pox

Last Monday, Jen and The Bean came to pick me up from school. This is always a big treat, not only for me, but for the students in my class.

They love hearing about The Bean and seeing new photos of him on my computer. They draw him pictures at the art table, asking me what his favourite colour is and what he likes. So, when we brought him into the classroom many of them rushed over to see him, vying for his attention and trying to make him smile. They we holding his hands and stroking his hair. It's very sweet to see them interact so positively with him.

Art from one of the students in my class. We tape it up on the wall behind where Jen breastfeeds. The Bean loves looking at the bright colours.

On Tuesday, one of the little boys in my class was scratching at his back quite vigorously. It's allergy season and I've been getting a lot of complaints about itchy eyes and stuffy noses. An itchy back was a new one though.

I told him to come over and asked if I could take a look. Up between his shoulder blades were three little red bumps. My first thought was, "Oh no! Chicken pox!!" But most kids these days are vaccinated. I took him next door to my teaching partner, a mother of three young children. The principal also happened to be in her room. We showed them his back, and they both seemed to think it was just mosquito bites (which was what I was hoping). We sent him to the Nurse's Office where they put some anti-itch cream on it.

Later in the afternoon he told me that now his underarm was itchy. I took another look and there were about five more little red bumps down his side. This time I KNEW it was chicken pox. I sent him back to the Nurse's Office and asked them to call his mom. She came quickly, and took him to the doctor who confirmed things.

I had chicken pox when I was in kindergarten, so I'm not concerned about getting them myself. But all the public health literature and information from online I've read says that the most contagious period is the two days before the pox appear.

In other words, Monday. The day The Bean was at school and the kids were all over him.

We called our doctor who said just to play it by ear for now. There's a two to three week incubation period. We're watching for any signs of a fever or marks on The Bean's body. (Note from Jen: watching...obsessing, is there a difference?)

Fortunately breastfed babies are at lower risk. We're keeping our fingers crossed that he doesn't get it. He hasn't been sick yet (knock wood) and this would be a hell of a first illness.

Let us know your tips for dealing with chicken pox, fevers or other illnesses!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and moms to be out there!

Last year on Mother's Day we took my mom out for lunch and she asked us if we had any good news to share. We had just gotten a BFN on a pregnancy test Jen had taken the day before. We came home to a prophetic message from our good friend. The next day when we took another test, there was a second faint blue line. Now, a year later, we're enjoying our first Mother's Day as Mom and Mama to our beautiful baby!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Bean's Sister the Cat

Oliver and Mo The Bean has a "sister" who’s a fluffy white cat named Mo. She helps to make our home a more cuddly place.

If you ask me, cats get a bad rap. They are always characterized as aloof and unyielding. As preferring to be by themselves rather than around people. And, for some reason, people love to tell us that they’re baby-killers. You know what I’m talking about, statements like:

“Oh you better keep an eye on that cat or she’ll get jealous and smother your baby.”

Really? No, I mean, really?

First of all, our cat loves to be around people. Even when we have parties (okay, HAD parties) she was in the middle of the action rubbing on feet and nose-diving into purses. When Allison and I get home after being out for a few hours she always greets us at the door. And, it's torture when Allison and I are in different rooms for any length of time. She just doesn’t know where to go and ends up trying to position herself in the middle so she can see both of us.

However, if left to her druthers she will attack cuddle us in the nighttime.

Attack Cuddle: verb \ə-ˈtak\ \ˈkə-dəl\ : The act of crawling onto a person’s chest while they are sleeping and 1. purring profusely or 2. rubbing your cold wet nose on their face until they pet you.

Unfortunately for Mo, attack cuddling a baby could prove problematic and therefore she has been evicted from the bedroom during the nights or nap times. (Ollie sleeps in a co-sleeper in our bedroom.)

There have been other changes too. She’s no longer the star of all photo shoots, we don’t scoop her up for cuddling quite as often, and her cat house keeps getting shuffled around the apartment to accommodate our latest configuration of baby stuff.

Having The Bean may actually have sparked some maternal instincts in Mo. She loves to lie at my feet whenever I nurse the baby. When he’s having a crying spell, she sits with us and, as of late, she’s taken to rubbing her face against him (when he stops moving long enough.)

So, even though she’s been bumped down a slot around here, near as I can tell, she’s not spending her extra solitude plotting ways to go all Freddy Krueger on the baby.

Mostly she snoozes.

Probably because she’s the only one around here smart enough to sleep when the baby sleeps.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Back to Front

This morning, as is often the case on weekend mornings, I got up with The Bean. I changed him and played with him for a little bit. Then I put him on his play mat and went to make my tea and check email. A few minutes later I he calls out "Agh ah!", so I look around the edge of my computer screen and see him lying on his stomach with a surprised look on his face.

Guess this means we'll have to start watching him a little more closely.