Saturday, April 25, 2009


Being a parent is a humbling experience. And we've had our biggest slice of humble pie during the past 24 hours.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights were AWFUL. Some of the worst nights ever. The baby woke up before midnight each night and was up for more than three hours - crying, screaming, NOT sleeping. D spent the most time holding her and rocking her and singing to her. Desperately trying to get her to sleep. I went to sleep in our basement spare bedroom and occasionally attempted to nurse her. She wanted nothing of the sort - and why would she? She's eating three solid meals a day (peas and carrots and a little avocado now and then, along with cereal) and nursing 6 or 7 times a day. The girl is packing in the calories. I digress. Back to the no sleep.

We decided we needed to do something, but had no idea what that something would be. After nursing her her last night, I took her into her room and she completely pitched a fit. She was bathed, fed, in comfortable, newly washed jammies, and had the humidifier in her room on. And she was exhausted. So why the freaking scream-fest? After 10 minutes or so, I realized she was inconsolable. I put her down in her crib, kissed her, and walked out. Shutting the door behind me. I made up my mind that I'd give her 15 minutes alone. Afterwards, I'd go and check on her and decide what to do.

It was a L-O-N-G 15 minutes.

She cried and cried. D and I went downstairs to plunge the shower drain (we're having plumbing issues). We came upstairs and worked on dinner. Finally it was 8:30 and I could go check on her. As I climbed the stairs, I realized it was REALLY quiet. When I got to her door she was just whimpering. I left her alone for a few more minutes. By 8:35 she was asleep. Hallelujah!

We decided we weren't going to pick her up if she woke up again until after midnight. If she woke up then, we'd check to make sure she didn't need to eat and then we'd put her back down. Well, she woke up twice before midnight and each time she cried and went back to sleep. I even went in and removed her crib bumper (because she had plastered her face into it and I didn't want her to smother herself). She didn't wake up.

We didn't hear her at all between midnight and 5:45am. Not wanting to be out of bed before 6am on a Saturday, I waited until 6:01 before going to get her up for breakfast.

And today...she's been so stinking pleasant. She even went down for her mid-day night by herself.

D and I have been working so hard to get her to sleep. We've been rocking, swaddling, trying new blankets, playing music (or ocean noises), etc... And what does our baby want? To be left alone. It's humbling to see that she just needs to get to sleep on her own. It's also a little sad that she doesn't want to be a baby anymore and fall asleep in my arms. But it is also a true blessing to sleep for more than 5 hours without interruption in MY OWN BED at night.

Here's to a half-assed attempt at the cry-it-out method. And a baby who slept well last night.

May this be the beginning of some wonderful nights of sleep for all of us.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


A little bit about our family: we eat vegan, use reusable bags for shopping, recycle, and buy things second-hand. We don't own a TV. We use reusable diapers and have only purchased a total of 11 onesies for our baby. EVERYTHING else was either a gift, hand-me-down, or bought second-hand. We use glass baby bottles and are making all of our baby's food.

And I'm really proud of the fact that our little one has only had one bottle of formula EVER. And that was her first night in the hospital. I was too sick and pumped full of drugs to take care of her.

When I was pregnant we decided that we wanted to breastfeed our baby for several reasons: 1) it is what is best, in terms of health, for her; 2) it is natural and a wonderful way for a baby to bond with his/her mom; and 3) it is WAY less expensive than buying formula. Our goal was and still remains to breastfeed the little one until she is one. Then it is ALL OVER.

The other day I was standing in line in the grocery store behind a woman buying formula and realized just how expensive that stuff is. Seriously, that stuff costs A LOT. If we were to buy organic, non-dairy formula it would cost us somewhere between $400-600 per month. That's a lot of money. Breastfeeding is definitely the way to go if you want to save cash. But there are some costs associated with breastfeeding. And they have been weighing on me this past week...

First, its a time commitment and a burden to a mom. You are responsible for milk at every meal and for every snack. This means (at the beginning) sitting down for upwards of an hour EIGHT times a day to get enough food in her little belly. Six months later and she is still nursing six, sometimes seven times a day. Things do move along a little faster these days, but still it is a time commitment.

And then there is pumping. If we're not together for a feeding, I must pump. I.HATE.IT. There is something demoralizing about pumping; something so wrong. I hate it. I hate carrying my pump to school every day. Hate cleaning all the little parts. Hate spending close to an hour a day in a little bathroom filling bottles with more milk. I also hate that I have to get up early each morning and pump after she has eaten (for my own personal comfort). And I really hate that basically you cannot do a single thing while pumping, except pumping.

Another cost associated with breastfeeding is the steep learning curve. It is hard work for the mom and the baby. It took us close to three months to finally get a common groove. It was hard work at first. Had it not been for Laura, our nurse at the hospital, or my mom, who made me tea to drink during the early days and posted notes telling me to relax while trying to get the baby to feed, I think I would have given up before the first month was over. It takes a lot of time and commitment on the part of the mother to get her baby to nurse, to not fall asleep while nursing, to drink from both sides, to get full feeding EVERY time, etc...

And finally, there are physical costs of nursing. Nursing changes the shape of your body. I have never been so top-heavy before in my life. My center of gravity may be forever different and I'm not sure I like that. Nursing is also physically draining. A nursing mom needs an additional 500 calories a day. I just can't keep up. I continue to lose weight (probably has something to do with the vegan diet). My current goals are to stay as hydrated as possible each day and maintain my current weight (which BTW is 12 pounds less than what I weighted at my first prenatal visit). Some people might think losing all this weight is awesome, but I'm worried about what is going to happen when I stop nursing her. I can eat like a carefree teenager right now. Will I ever be able to go back to a disciplined healthy eater?

More physical costs of nursing rear their ugly heads at the beginning... there were the sores and dry skin. There were cuts and blood. It was uncomfortable. They soon went away, but a month later her teeth started to come in and the biting began. The cuts and sores were back. This time with an infection. MISERABLE. It is a dangerous job being a nursing mother!

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm happy and proud of our decision to breastfeed the little one. But after six months of this, I've come to realize that the decision to breastfeed is complicated; definitely not black and white. There are costs and benefits to it. I think the costs far outweigh the benefits, but there still are costs. To say the least, I have learned a lot and been through a lot these past six months. As the next six months roll on by, I'm going to try to treasure all of my nursing moments. And I am looking forward to the day where I can pack up my pump and put it away for a long, long, long time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Shel Silverstein has a wonderful poem entitled SICK. In the poem little Peggy Ann McKay explains why she cannot go to school today because of all of her ailments. She starts with:

I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry.
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks...

By the end of the poem she realizes it is Saturday and signs off with "good-bye, I'm going out to play."

For the past two days, I have felt much like the sick Peggy Ann McKay. And, unfortunately, even if it were Saturday I would not being going out to play. There are a lot of germs going around.

I was worried towards the end of last week that the baby was getting sick. She was so grumpy and was not sleeping well. And her nose was running. She'd wake up with snot all over herself and her sheets. Turns out it was her third and fourth teeth cutting through her gums. The fourth is nearly all the way out and she is doing much better. But Friday and Saturday nights were KILLER. She'd easily fall asleep in my arms; was even snoring. But as soon as her elevation changed as I was putting her in the crib she would throw a fit. We spent several hours sleeping together - me propped up against pillows or on a couch and her resting in my arms head held high. At one point I thought about going to sleep on a Lazy-boy, but she FINALLY fell asleep on her own.

Sunday night was another hard one. She slept soundly until 2:30am, but was then up again, this time unable to nurse herself back to sleep because of all the snot. We spent some quality time together in the wee hours of the morning. Love her to death, but when you have to get up at 5:30 and the baby is still awake at 3:45 things are not so pretty.

I was sitting in the computer lab on Monday afternoon frantically trying to finish a homework assignment when I felt the chills set in. During my 1-3pm class, I got THE headache, I started shaking, and my tummy was upset. I snuck out of class and bought some coke thinking the caffeine would help my headache and the coke would calm my tummy. Neither worked. When I got home, my temperature was nearly 103. I was achy and miserable. D could not get home soon enough.

I took today off and took the baby to the nanny. I slept. HARD. I think the lack of sleep over the weekend completely did me in. I'm feeling better, but still have a mild fever. I don't remember 100 degree fevers feeling this bad when I was in high school or college. As we get older do fevers make us feel worse?

Anyways, I should be grateful that I'm sick and not the baby. And I should be grateful that our nanny is wonderful and even told me if I needed to pick the baby up late this evening she would totally understand. I was there on time, but grateful for the helpful offer. I'm on the fence about whether or not I should trek up to B-more tomorrow for classes. I'm thinking maybe going up for just the morning and then coming home to sleep. HARD.

On top of all of the sickness, I have had THREE bloody noses today. GUSHERS. I don't even want to guess the number of kleenexs I went through today. My last one was terrible and lasted much longer than the others. All of the clots from the previous bloody events came out, which was repulsive - especially since my tummy is a little on the rocks. To prevent another bloody nose, I've given up blowing my nose for the next 24 hours. I'm also running a humidifier and taking SUPER hot showers without the fan on.

Here's to some warmer weather and better health!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


They say 'the days go by slowly, but the years go by fast.'

For me it's more like the minutes and hours (especially those in the wee hours of the morning) go by monumentally slow, but the months are just flying by. My little baby is six months old.


Dear Pumpkin,

You're six months old now and, honestly, I can't remember my life without you. You have learned so much during the past few months and have brought us so much delight. The list of things you can now do includes:

-pulling the cat's hair (much to my delight)
-rolling over (back to front) in both directions
-grabbing hold of EVERYTHING and putting it in your mouth
-sitting up (with assistance)
-pushing up on your hands and knees and rocking back and forth
-sleeping for up to seven hours at night
-eating cereal (several times a day).

Your favorite thing to do these days is play in your exersaucer. You will play until your are so tired. Sometimes I think if I leave you there long enough you'll probably fall asleep standing up. You also like going for walks, playing in the front yard (probably because you get so much attention from the neighbors), and hanging out in your rocking chair in the kitchen. You have a ton of really great toys (expensive ones), but you'd rather chew on a a plastic bottle or the tag on a pillow, t-shirt, or other object. You are easy to please!

The past week has really had its ups and downs. You started biting me while nursing about a week ago. I got REALLY mad (and hurt) and developed an infection. The infection and my anger bothered you and you went on strike. It was frustrating for both of us. You finally gave in on Sunday and woke up EVERY three hours all night long to catch up on the calories you missed. I was exhausted, but so happy that you're eating again. I was worried you would stop nursing all together, which is not part of the plan.

After last night, I would say you are an AWESOME sleeper. You slept from 10:30pm to 6:15am, but this isn't the norm. Although I'm not expecting tonight to be the same, I am so grateful for a wonderful night of sleep. And am looking forward to the day when I can expect a good night of sleep on a regular basis.

All in all, its been an amazing six months. I'm a little sleep-deprived. And I miss snacking on trail mix and would love a scrabbled egg or some ice-cream. The sound of you laughing in your crib each morning makes up for it all. I melt each evening when you put your head on my shoulder before (or during) falling asleep. I love seeing your smile at the end of a long school day. I long that a hug and a little TLC will turn your big pouty lip into a giant smile. I love that you're a little bit of a mama's girl and will cry when I leave the room or take off for school in the morning.

Your two little teeth may be sharp, but they are beautiful and make your smile all the more adorable.

I love you more than you can imagine.

Love, Mama

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The perfect pair of jeans.

Blue jeans are so common. You can find them anywhere - Target, department stores, boutiques, and Ebay, among other places. Why then is it so hard to find a pair that fits well? FOR.REAL. All I want is a nice pair of dark blue jeans that I can where out to dinner or to an informal meeting with a professor. I want a pair of jeans that would look professional with a nice jacket (for instance my cute little pink jacket) or a nice shirt or blouse. I don't want baggie or frumpy looking jeans. I want nice ones. Ones that fit well and don't look like the pair I wear around the house to do chores.

Why is it so hard for me to find jeans?

I actually have a pair of such jeans, but they now have a hole in them and are starting to look a little ratty around the bottoms. My mom tried to get me the EXACT SAME pair as a Christmas gift, but the design of the jeans had changed just slightly and they didn't fit right. Grrrr...

Any suggestions for where to find a nice pair of jeans? Ideally, I need a pair that comes in short or petite sizes, as I am short.

We're also in search of a dutch oven. We've been making our own bread since mid-January. And cooking it in our wok covered by a glass bowl is getting a little old. And the risk of injury from a burn is huge. Does everyone out there agree that the Williams Sonoma dutch oven is the way to go?