Friday, January 27, 2012

On losing and moving on

I went to the optometrist for an eye exam a couple weeks ago. It was a new doctor and during the initial background questions I mentioned I'd recently had a baby. She asked if this was my first pregnancy and I answered yes before I could catch myself. I didn't correct my answer. It didn't seem necessary to bring up that awkward topic for a measly eye exam, but the truth is no, this wasn't my first pregnancy.

In October 2010 I miscarried my first baby at 8 weeks. It was heartbreaking. And over the next few months I felt like pregnancy and babies were all I could see. When I walked down the street, when I opened up facebook or looked at blogs, it seemed everyone was having babies except for me. As a matter of survival there were people (anyone who was pregnant) who's facebook feeds had to be blocked. I didn't want to be consumed by anger and jealousy, but in those early months when the pain was fresh it was so hard to be happy for others.

When a few months later I found my deepest wish had been granted and I was pregnant again, it was like finding an escape hatch from my grief. But I'd lost my innocence about pregnancy and was very aware that by broadcasting my happiness I was no doubt causing someone else pain. So I didn't say much on Facebook and didn't blog.

I really debated whether this is something I should share on my blog or not. Part of me cringes at the idea of talking about such personal things on such a public forum (although I think I can count on one hand the people who actually read this). But as I've found myself wanting to write about motherhood and giving in to the overwhelming desire to share cute baby pics on Facebook, I felt that I needed to be more open about having had a miscarriage. Especially since part of what makes it so hard is the way no one talks about it. I owed it to anyone who is where I was, who might stumble upon my words to say that no, it hasn't all been roses. I lost like so many others have, and I feel so blessed to be where I am today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


We held off giving H a soother when he was born because I'd had some issues with breastfeeding and didn't want to add anything else to the mix that might cause problems. By the time we tried to give him one around three weeks he was no longer interested. It was frustrating for a bit, I wished we had something to help him sooth himself, especially in the car where he would always throw a giant fit. When he first found his hands he sort of sucked on his entire fist and I thought maybe that would help him, but then he sort of lost interest and I forgot about it. I figured he was done with needing to suck and we moved on.

Well in the past couple days he has started up again, and not this sucking on a whole fist or a few fingers thing. No this is real thumb in mouth, index finger curled around nose, thumb sucking. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Every time I see him do it I flash forward to seeing him as a five year old starting school and still sucking his thumb. Is this going to be a habit we have to work to break someday? A thumb is not as easy to take away as a soother. But the thing is... thumb sucking = napping! Every nap today I put him down (I. Put. Him. Down... People do you understand the significance of this?) and he cried for a minute or so, then found his thumb and sucked himself to sleep.

So I'm torn. I'm psyched out of my mind that he may have found something to help sooth himself and nap out of my arms (that kid is getting heav-y) but  I wonder if someday I'll look back and rue the day he ever became a thumbsucker.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Glasses!

I finally did it - I ordered glasses online! I've been feeling like it was time to get a new pair, since my current glasses are 8 or 9 years old. And although I still really like them I kind of wanted something a bit more fun since I spend 99.9% of my time in glasses these days (who has time for a shower let alone time to put in contacts?) So I started looking around and remembered why I'd always gone the very conservative route with specs, those puppies are expensive. At $300 dollars + once you add in the lenses you don't exactly want to experiment. So even though it made me a bit nervous, I decided to give the online route a try. I bought mine from Clearly Contacts, I mean with their awesome return policy the worst that could happen would be that I'd send them back, right? Well I used their online try-on app, used my current glasses as a size guide, and ordered a couple different pairs figuring I'd send one back. Then I waited.

After much anticipation they arrived yesterday and I was so excited! As expected one of the two pairs was not a good fit and so will be sent back (probably for the best since I don't need two new pairs of glasses but would have been tempted to keep them if they even remotely fit my tiny head - I'm the worst at returning), but the other pair was exactly what I was looking for! Now I just need to get used to this new, stronger prescription. Currently they are a wee bit vertigo-inducing in the way that all new glasses can be. And the grand total for these? Just under $120. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

4 months 13 days

Dear H,

Sometimes I'm caught off guard by how big you are getting. This usually happens when I'm in a group with other babies and I notice the newborns, how tiny and otherworldly they seem, and I'm struck by what a little boy you are. When did that happen?

You're no longer a lump in my arms. Your neck is getting so strong and suddenly all these things I was waiting for are happening. You're sitting up on my lap, I can put you on my hip and hold you with one hand, and airplane rides (the kind me and daddy give you) are met with squeals of laughter not a sad wobbly head. I think you're liking this new vantage point on the world. Sure you still love your play mat, but now you'd rather sit in the bumbo and stare down at the toys.

In other news you've discovered your feet! During diaper changes when they are liberated from your socks you stare at them intently in the same way you stared at your hands many weeks ago. Your hands inch up your legs, and I can almost hear your thoughts, "how can I get that in my mouth?" I can't blame you though, it's all I can do not to eat them either. Imagine my surprise when I looked down and found you holding your foot for the first time! Of course if mommy tries to help you by placing a foot in your hand this is met with giggles. But nothing makes you laugh like taking off your onesies. I think you might be a ticklish little guy.

You are taking to us all the time these days. Sometimes in coos, or your trademark 'hnn dee dee dee', but lately it's been a lot of very loud 'rrraaarrr'. I don't know if you are trying to tell me you are frustrated or want something, or if you just love the sound of your voice and want to hear it loud. You are a charmer though, making friends everywhere we go by smiling sweetly at anyone who will pay you some attention.

I know I say this all the time but I'm amazed how quickly you are changing and growing. We put your bassinet away the other day and lowered your bed in the playpen. I loved having you as my sweet tiny baby but I have to say, I find the sweet little boy you're becoming pretty irresistible too.

Love, momma

Friday, January 20, 2012

Accidental Rookie Moms Challenge

Have you ever heard of the Rookie Moms blog? Well they have this challenge where every week there is an activity that you need to try to accomplish as a way of forcing new parents to venture out into the world. I thought it sounded like fun and totally planned to try it out. Then I had a baby. I actually haven't even gone back to look at this challenge since he's been born. 99.9% of my internet-ing happens on my iPhone so if something doesn't just pop up on my google reader, it's a huge pain to go looking for it.

Well one of the Rookie Moms just had a baby and did a little round up of how she'd done with the challenge, which gave me the opportunity to see how I had (inadvertently) done on it as well.

  1. Pretend you’re in Europe - Pretty much every day I venture out for my two favourite vices. Ah caffeine and sugar, you're a sleep deprived new mom's best friend.
  2. Grab a buddy to go on a recon mission. - OK, not really. I have become the kind of person who nurses and changes her baby almost anywhere. But I guess I try to notice where the bathrooms are and if they have change tables... so I'll give myself this one.
  3. Join or start a new mom’s group. - Yup! Before baby I signed up for this Motherhood Unfolding class because I knew I wanted to meet some other moms in the area. Luckily they all turned out to rock and we  meet weekly for lunches and crafting. It's been wonderful connecting with other moms who know what's happening around my place, and as a bonus I bump into these ladies all over town which makes me feel like I'm part of a community for the first time since I've lived in Vancouver.
  4. Visit a fabric store with your sidekick - Last weekend with my mother in law. For my next challenge I will go by myself (and the babe of course).
  5. Go to the grocery store for just one thing. For just one thing? How about for a dozen things and make this every day.
  6. Paint your baby’s feet for posterity. - Checked this one off thanks to my dad who helped me when H was only two weeks old. 
  7. Take a postnatal yoga class, with your baby. We go every week to the mom and baby class at Semperviva. It's great but lately I've been wanting to do more yoga and H has been wanting to do more crying and being held.
  8. Get a pedicure. Yes, and I feel like I should go back for another before H becomes a mover. I may only see them at yoga and in the shower these days but painted toe nails make me feel so much more together.
  9. Go to a mom and baby movie.  Check and check. We've gone to two so far, Sherlock Holmes and Moneyball.
  10. Plan a mom’s night out. Nope, giant fail. And I don't see this one happening until H is off to college, or you know at least eating some solids and less of a boob-aholic.
  11. Visit a friend or spouse at work.  Yup, been to visit friends at work twice and to James' work once.
  12. Enjoy modern art. Nope.
  13. Make a Modern Family photo. Nope and no thanks.
So all in all not too bad for someone who wasn't even trying. But the babe's up and it's time to pretend we're in Europe so I'm off!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Carrying the babe

When I was pregnant I knew that we'd need some way to get baby from A to B but I completely dismissed the idea of baby wearing. I have a bad neck and even carrying around a heavy purse tends to give me a headache so no way was I going to be able to carry around a 10 lb + baby. We invested ( thanks to some very generous family) in a great stroller and I figured that would be that. As my due date got closer I started to notice how many people were carrying their babies around our neighbourhood, including dads. I decided that they must be onto something and we should have another option so we got an Ergo ( also thanks to generous family). But I figured my husband would be the one to mainly use it and even brought him to the store to try on models. Oh how wrong I was.
Though he does wear it - and makes it look good!

It turns out baby wearing doesn't hurt your back, having a baby hurts your back. Sure it's great having a wonderful stroller, but the babe would sometimes much rather ride in your arms, thank you. Or your awesome stroller won't fit through the tiny aisles in the stores you want to go to. Or you want to go to a restaurant but you don't want to take up 500% more space with a bulky stroller. Or you're at home with a cranky baby that just wants to be held but you'd like your arms back, thanks. And let's face it, all the hip looking moms are doing it which makes me want to as well (hey I'm just being honest). This is not to say that I don't love our stroller since I use it almost everyday, but for all the reasons above I entered the world of baby wearing.

My first time using the ergo was when H was only a few weeks old. He was fussy at home and so I popped him in and presto, he was sleeping and my hands were free to hold a beer (bad mommy!) Of course 'popped him in' implies the Ergo was easy to use at first. It was not. Especially with that insert you need for new babies. That thing was the main reason I didn't use the Ergo much for the first few months.

A friend had also leant me a pouch sling and had assured me that it was amazing. But try as I might I could not stuff me and my boy into it comfortably. In search of something easier to use than the ergo but also adjustable I bought the Maya Wrap, a ring sling, which had the benefit of also being really pretty (let's face it - these things matter). I had hoped it would be love at first wear, but sadly no. However after some practice we figured it out and now it comes many places with us and has saved me on several occasions where the babe was just done with the stroller and we were miles from home.

The problem is, now I'm hooked. I love the snugly feeling of carrying H close and there are just so many ways to do it. Uh oh, another way to spend $$$ on baby gear. In an effort to not break the bank I tried my hand at making a Moby wrap using this tutorial. It worked! Though really I shouldn't be so surprised since the directions are buy 5 yards of fabric, cut in half. And now that I know how easy it is, I want to make more in different fabrics. Uh oh again.

Ok so the point of all this was to write some of the things I've learned about baby wearing for future Alyssa. So here it is:

~ All types of carriers have a learning curve. Keep practicing, it gets easier. And YouTube videos are your friend.

~ Ditch the Ergo for newborns. If I could do it again I would have saved the money I spent on the infant insert and put it towards something else. Once H had some neck control and his legs were long enough to sit properly in it he liked it sooo much more.

~ Tying the moby was not as bad as it seemed at first and a ring sling takes some adjusting too. If I could go back in time I might have started with the moby since it sits on both shoulders and is easier on the back. But H is starting to really like facing forward in his sling, so I'm glad I have it.

~ You really need to be moving for baby to be happy, at least until he falls asleep.

~ Carrying your baby will not solve all your problems. When H was around 6 weeks and in his cranky pants phase I thought that baby wearing would turn our fussy evenings into happy cooing baby times. As with everything that I thought would solve all our problems, I was bitterly dissapointed. Whaat? There are no quick fixes in parenthood?

And now some blurry iphone pics of us in our new faux-Moby, aka a piece of fabric. And yes, I'm going to do something about my hair.