Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Diaper Genie

Annika changed her first real diaper this week.  It was a bit surreal watching her do it all by herself.  I was so proud of her!  It's interesting to see Annika be so nurturing with her sister and her dolls.  I see her mimicking a lot of what I've done with her.  It makes me very aware that what I do with both of these girls will not just affect them directly but also how they will take care of their own children, my grand children.  Kind of eerie to know I'm setting a pattern. Makes me glad to have girls.

Cool New Mom Gifts

As I'm still fresh in the new mom phase I'm writing down all the cool gifts I received or wish I had received during this time.  This phase has such specific needs that it's hard to think of useful gifts unless you're here.  Even if you've had kids it's hard to remember what these first few weeks are all about. I think for just about everyone it all turns into a big, hazy fog because we're so sleep deprived. 

Of course, the most useful and best gift to receive as a new mom is food. This Taco Box is just beyond cool! It would definitely stand out from all the other casseroles and lasagnas. It's  thoughtful and crazy creative!  You can make one yourself and customize it for the receiving family.

The other gift I just came upon is from a company called Citrus Lane.  For $25 a month you get a box with really great products that are age appropriate for your baby.  The companies they source are all the types of products I'd buy: organic, design savvy, super cute and educational.  I just bought a six months subscription. A box of goodies in the mail can really make your day.  It's the kind of thing that can help you forget your sweet baby puking her brains out in the middle of a museum gallery, which of course got you both kindly ushered out.  This would be a cool gift to receive!  

images from The Kitchen and Citrus Lane

Great Quote

This week all of my summer plans came crumbling down.  I had Annika's summer camps planned out until August; a little sports, a little science, a little play. I planned so far in advance because I needed to know when I was getting my breaks. With a newborn and Dave's crazy work schedule I need my time so I can keep sane.  

Well, one camp got cancelled. The other isn't such a good fit for Annika. I think she's too young and she'll never admit defeat. She'll run and keep up until she falls over from exhaustion.  Can't have that.  So, I scoured the internet for camps in our area.  I was up till 1:30am on Sunday trying to find something that worked.  The camps I liked were super expensive. Other's she was too young for.  And too many were not....well, good enough for my kid.  

Back when Annika was 2 we went on adventures and I saw kids in camps. I remember thinking many looked like cattle being herded back and forth.  The kids didn't look all that happy.  How sad so many children had to spend their days like this. I promised I'd never do that to my kids. So, I was ready to fork out quite a bit of money to get Annika the perfect camp where she would be entertained and learn and be happy.

Then I remembered the quote above. I asked Annika if she preferred to go to camp or spend her days with me. I didn't even get the sentenced finished when she said "with you".   I think a better solution is to find a nanny who can help me two days a week so I get a break but I spend the rest of the time with the girls.  With this solution comes the realization that my house will never be neat and organized this summer.  To have Annika at home means doing activities; cooking, art, reading, play which means more mess. I can't do it all. I'd need a full staff to get it all done. Something's gotta give and it'll be a neat house.  But, at least I'll have spend more time with my child and less money and I hope to get what's promised.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Breast Feeding

Thankfully breast feeding is going much better this time around.  With Annika I had mastitis five times in the first month.  My milk dried up and it was utterly painful to nurse her directly.  For a couple weeks we had to give her formula and for several weeks I had to pump until my breast healed and she could latch on without me bleeding.  It was a rough start but I was determined to breast feed.  

Sometime around 6 months I was in a restaurant nursing Annika and I saw my reflection in a mirror.  I finally looked like one of those women in magazines nursing. It was easy, Annika latched on easy.  I was bonding with my baby and I looked so beautiful and maternal.  Finally!  Six months after starting I was finally where I imagined I'd be from day one.  No one tells you it's an adjustment and a learned art.  

Now with Gemma it's been a different adventure.  Now I know that just because the baby sleeps through the night it doesn't mean your boobs can hold all that milk through the night to.  This time I have a pump ready to use the minute I feel engorged. Now I know what feeling engorged feels like and when it's time to pump. I also know how to massage myself in the shower and how to check for hard spots which are the precursor to mastitis.  I now know to use nipple shields as my nipples get use to all the action.  This time I had no expectations of it being easy from the get go. And I definitely now know that it may take months before I have that maternal glow as I nurse.  At fourteen weeks I'm not quite there yet. 

Gemma has been a funny eater.  The amount of milk that flows from me was initially too much for her.  She's finally getting big enough to make it through an entire feeding without choking. She is a loud eater.  At night she wakes Dave up with all her lip smacking and grunting. I find it funny, he not so much.  She has hated being put on the boob, she wants to do it herself and she's finally getting big enough to do that.  However, she still misses the mark or doesn't know she's on it and gets frustrated all the same.  She hates the cover when in public.  Probably because she gets hot easy and we're in summer in Southern California. But she latches on fine and eats well, cluster feeding in the mornings after the long sleep and again right before going to bed at night. 

As for me, it started out so painful that I chipped two teeth and my jaws were aching for weeks from biting down.  My legs were cramping and I finally realized it was from bracing myself for the pain every time we nursed.  I was clinching every muscle in my body.  I was also frustrated that Gemma had such a hard time getting on.  I have a masseuse who comes to the house every two weeks. She's helped me a lot and once we identified where the tension was coming from I was able to relax and so has Gemma.  It's now a thousand times easier as the tension has gone.  It still hurts when I get the milk let down. Ironically it's the breast she is not on that hurts the most. Since Gemma doesn't like the cover I tend to feed her in the car or somewhere where I don't need to use it. Other than that we're doing well.  

It's been hard but for me it's worth it.  I saw how awful Annika felt on formula so I'm glad I haven't had to use it this time.  In fact, I have so much milk I'm not afraid to spill it or throw it out when it's gone bad.  I have 30-40oz in the freezer that have come from the times I feel engorged.  There's a million reasons why I feel breastfeeding is better for the baby's health. However, my main reason which is unrelated to health is because I'm able to introduce her to different flavors and foods through my milk.  I love to cook and travel. I hope my children will look forward to foreign travel as well and the exposure to the corresponding foods.  It's looking pretty good with Annika who is now four. 

We were at a Thai restaurant one evening and Annika didn't want to eat.  When I asked her what she would do when we went to Thailand she gave me an odd look and said "you mean this is what they eat there?".  Yes I replied.  And just like that she started eating the rice and pad thai.  We ate Thai quite a bit during her first year.   



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rising to the Occasion

Last Thursday I knew the minute Gemma woke up that it would be a hard day.  She was teething bad again.  Annika woke up about an hour later and I let her know the day would be challenging but we'd make it through.  And the amazing girl and big sister that she is, she helped me soothe Gemma the entire day.  Without her I would have died since Gemma needed to be held constantly.  Instead Annika was able to entertain and soothe her so I could take a shower, make meals, put in a load of laundry. I actually think Annika can do more for Gemma than I can.  She amazes me. Every time the day is hard or the moment is difficult for whatever reason, Annika rises to the occasion in a way I'd expect from a much older child....maybe even an adult.  

There were many touching moments with the two girls throughout the day. However, I found this moment to be specially touching.  Annika is playing the audio book Dave and I recorded for her when we went to the hospital to deliver Gemma.  The two of them looked so beautiful and sweet. These are the moments I visualized for years so it feels strange to see them for real.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Getty: same spot at a different time

Every time we're at the Getty I take the same picture in the same spot.  It's a great marker of time passing. It's always been just P, until today. It was G's first time.  I'm feeling very blessed...very lucky.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

4th Trimester Style: pants

No one talks about what to wear after you give birth.  There's this thing called the "fourth trimester" and it's discussed in terms of the baby but never the mom.  Well, we have our own transition, specially in terms of style. 

With this second child I've come to grips with the fact that my mid-section will be a bit mushy for a while.  Pants are a problem.  Even if I shrink down to my normal size 10, my tummy is rather soft so that pants are either too tight or slide off.  The best solution is maternity pants with the wide waist band or yoga pants.  I know no one wants to wear "maternity clothes" when they're not pregnant but I'd rather look good than have muffin top or mama crack.  Both are terribly unsexy.  

Gap has skinny, bright colored, demi-panel maternity jeans and I'm loving it! Hip maternity pants! Woohoo. I bought the red ones and I think I also want fushsia!

The Difference a Year Makes

Ace Hotel. May 2011

Ace Hotel. May 2012
We went to Palm Springs two weeks ago. Today I downloaded our pictures onto our computer and I realized we went to Palm Springs last year at the same time.  It's not an annual May voyage, it just turned out that way. Last year we went for Dave's work and this year because he wasn't working we got the chance to get out of town. 

I'm glad I found the pictures from a year ago. They made me remember where we were emotionally not so long ago.  I remember being on a strict fertility diet of no alcohol, sugar or caffeine. Vacations are never fun with those kinds of dietary confinements.  I thought I was never going to have another child. I was frustrated.  So to see us at the same restaurant with one more guest at the table seems like a miracle.  Every day is a hard juggle these days but I'm grateful for it. Very grateful.

The Bob Duallie.

One of the first things I put on our baby registry with the arrival of baby #2 was the Bob Duallie, the mother load, Escalade of strollers! It may not seem like a major need. P after all is 4.5 and walks everywhere. For the most part we don't need it but for two big reasons we do.  

#1: My Daily Sanity
I knew I'd want to go for walks or hikes, alone or with Dave and I want a real workout. The kind you  can't get when you're trying to entice a child to keep moving.  The kind of workout that frees your brain.  The Duallie allows me to stick both kids in there, hand P an ipad or iphone and let both of us get our happy on. Her with a show and me with exercise. G, thankfully is happy sleeping these days.

#2: Disney or any other theme park.
I have a rule about Disney. I do not pick the kids up.  They walk or ride everywhere.  If us parents are carrying the kids then we're pooped by noon and they still have load of energy.  My main goal at all theme parks is to keep the happy on and the cranky far away.  When one person in the pack gets tired it causes havoc on the rest of the family. The Duallie allows us all to be happy. It allows me to give P some quiet time in the middle of the day to nap or just to ride and rest so she can crank out the afternoon in a good mood.  It also allows me to pack load of clothes and food.  The weather has a 20 degree range here in Southern California. I need to pack several options for both cold and hot in case there are spills, accidents or splashes from rides. 

I'm so glad one of Dave's co-workers got us this amazing gift. It's made my job a thousand times easier and our days together as a family much happier! It drives so smooth and easy.  You can see Dave navigating it with one hand while it's fully loaded.  G's car seat snaps right into place with the appropriate car seat adapter so I know she's safely seated. And on days when we're feeling super tough, the stroller becomes part of our workout!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Notes to G: first swim

On Monday, May 28, 2012 we got you into the pool for the very first time!  You are 10 weeks old. I went to the mall that day and found this bathing cap with sun protection. I couldn't help myself, I thought you 'd look like a mini Ester Williams.  Anything this flowery is not my usual taste but you bring out the girlie in me. It seems to suit you.

You seemed to like the pool. You love to stretch your legs out in the tub but the pool was was a different environment.  Today, Friday we got you in the pool again and you liked it even more.  You're getting comfortable with the "bigger tub".  I can't wait till next summer when we'll take you to Miss Katie so you can learn to float and swim the way your sister did.