Monthly Archives: December 2013

Dear A: Happy Birthday!

Oh, my sweet girl.  One year ago today you came into this world, and into our lives.  It has been a wild and wonderful ride so far, and I’ve treasured every moment.

I remember when I went into labour.  I was so excited to finally meet you!  I was terrified that something would go wrong, about the pain, about the unknown.  You were my first, of course, and all the books in the world can’t tell you exactly what your experience will be.  (You’ll find that to be true of most things in life, my dear.)  Daddy rushed home after I told him the news, and he was as excited and apprehensive and amazed as I was.  He was brilliant through the labour, making me laugh when I needed distraction and being supportive and just generally wonderful. (You know, how he usually is.)

Twelve hours blurred by, and then here you were!  Tiny, red, wrinkly, and perfect.  You cried at first, and then settled in for a snuggle.  Daddy held you first, and then me, and the world around us ceased to exist for a while.

Being at the hospital was exhausting, but we got you back up to a good weight (a recurring theme…), and they let us take you home.  The doggies got to meet you for the first time, and they were curious and unsure.  We settled in at home and the fun began!

Just like our stay at the hospital, the year has somehow slipped by.  We’ve watched you with love and given you encouragement as you’ve worked toward your milestones – lifting your head (boy, did you HATE tummy time!), rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and then cruising.  You’ve met lots of people, visiting family and making friends at play groups, charming everyone with your sweet smile and sparkling eyes.  You’ve travelled as far as Perth, to your grandparents’ place, and to Gracefield, Quebec, to visit some extended family.

We’ve had our struggles, too.  You’re getting taller but you don’t seem to put on a lot of weight, and that’s been a source of frustration.  I’ve nursed you, we’ve given you formula at different concentrations, and you’ve seen 5 different doctors and dietitians, including a gastrointestinal specialist.  You’ve been poked and prodded, we’ve tried different things, and everyone seems to have come to the same conclusion – you’re just wee, and that’s how you are.  You’re a bit of a picky eater, but we do our best to make sure you get good, homemade meals and that you get the nutrition you need to keep growing, even if it’s at your own pace.

You, my dear, have been a delight.  You’re amazingly even-tempered.  You take most things in stride, though you’re not fond of loud, startling noises.  You love watching other children and are very sociable, as long as nobody tries to pick you up.  You’d rather explore than snuggle, and that’s alright.  I love watching as you discover and start to understand the world around you and how it works.

You’re a year old today, little bean.  Happy birthday.  We love you more than you can possibly imagine.

Birthday Baby!

Birthday Baby!

Dear A: Your First Christmas

Dear A,

Merry Christmas, little bean.  I’ve been extra excited about Christmas this year, and it’s all because of you.  Our tree went up weeks ago, with the breakable ornaments high out of your reach.  You do like to look at it,  but so far you haven’t been interested in touching it.  Lots of gifts were tucked under the tree, mostly for you, and Daddy and I couldn’t wait to watch you tear them open.

You had a great time on Saturday at your aunt and uncle’s for an early Christmas dinner, and the best part about your gifts was the tissue paper.  You do have a hard time resisting things that crinkle and rustle.

Two cousins enjoying an early Xmas

Two cousins enjoying an early Xmas

Earlier the same day, we got together with some friends and made Christmas ornaments.  The idea was to put white paint on your hand and then have you grasp a ball-style ornament, and then add glitter and so on to make the fingers look like snowmen.  Yours came out a bit more… avant-garde than intended, but it’s special nonetheless because it’s yours.  It’ll be on the tree every year, you can bet.

Paint, meet ornament

Paint, meet ornament

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it out to grandma & grandpa’s last night for Christmas dinner and gifts.  Late the night before (Christmas eve eve?), I woke up to the sound of you being sick.  My poor little girl!  You managed to pick up a stomach bug somewhere, and while you took it in stride, I was worried we’d have to skip out on festivities, to avoid giving your bug to everyone else.  We took you to the doctor yesterday, who confirmed it was a run-of-the-mill virus, and that you’d be fine in a few days.  We stayed in and gave you loads of extra cuddles and attention, and Mommy and Daddy ordered in Chinese food and took it easy.

This morning you were a lot more sedate than usual, and way more cuddly as well.  We snuggled and read some books, and you had some milk and water and a couple Cheerios. You also sat still on my lap with your head on my shoulder for a good 10 minutes this evening, which is the longest snuggle you’ve had since you were mobile enough to push away.  Your sense of independence and adventure will be back soon, no doubt.

We stayed home today as well, opening presents through the day.  You napped lots, but were mostly in good spirits.  We may have missed the big extended family get-together, but Daddy and I loved having you all to ourselves.  You got lots of lovely gifts, and especially loved a talking book from Daddy, as well as any dangly tags.  We loved spoiling you rotten, as did everyone else, because you’re the most amazing little girl.

Merry Christmas, little bean.  It has been an incredible year, and my life is so much richer for having you in it.  I feel blessed to know you, to love you, to watch you grow and learn and become our sweet little girl.  We love you to pieces.

Merry Christmas baby!

Merry Christmas baby!

Self-feeding and reusable pouches

All throughout A’s life, feeding has been a bit of a struggle. We had a tough time getting a good latch when she was a newborn. A lactation consultant recommended a nipple shield, which worked wonders for us. Eventually she got better at nursing and didn’t need it anymore, and it was nice to simplify breastfeeding a bit.

Once we started solid food, we had a whole other set of challenges.  We had to find the right spoon.  She’d only eat her cereal if it was slightly warmed. Some days she didn’t want it at all. We slowly introduced vegetables and fruit, and she definitely has her favourites.  I’ve tried finger foods with mixed results. I’ve cooked a few recipes online that get gobbled up one day and shunned the next. It seems that A is consistently inconsistent.

One thing hubby and I noticed recently is that A is more interested in the spoon. She grabs at it, pulls the contents off, smears her food all over. She doesn’t seem interested in using the spoon to eat, though. She loves to feed herself (when it’s a food she likes that day), and is a big fan of cereal O’s and the like.

We had an epiphany when grandma was telling us about a day they had spent together. She had given A one of those pouch-style store-bought baby purees, and A had grabbed it and stuffed it in her mouth and eaten most of the contents. I went online that night and ordered a set of refillable baby food pouches from squooshi.com.

Once the pouches arrived we gave them a wash & tried one out. We filled it with a favourite puree, and after a few moments, she figured out where dinner was and chowed down. Success!

Like always, she has remained inconsistent. If she’s in a mood to eat, she’ll make quick work of the puree. If she’s not then it becomes an exciting projectile. At least it makes less of a mess than an open container or a bowl.

The pouches are easy to fill and straightforward to use. Their website has recipes that I’m looking forward to trying. We didn’t buy the filling station but filling the pouches by spoon or pouring usually works quite well.  They’re also pretty cute, with cartoon penguins, pandas, walruses, and monkeys printed on them.

It’s great to have the pouches in our food arsenal, and on days where A is exerting her independence, they are a fun and cute way to get her to eat.

What methods/tricks have you used to get your little ones to eat?

Squooshi

Mmm, lunch! Also, pointing is cool.

Disclaimer: We bought these ourselves & weren’t influenced by anyone.  Except maybe the penguin, he’s pretty persuasive.

First visit with Santa

My daughter is in child care through the week while I’m at my shiny new job.  One day per week, my parents take A and she gets to spend the day with them.  I love that she gets a special day with her grandparents, and that they get to develop a strong relationship with her.

On Grandparent Day this week, they took her to the mall to see Santa.  Now, A is pretty shy around strangers, especially those that want to pick her up.  Most of the time, she’ll cry.  I was a bit apprehensive about how this would play out, because putting her on the knee of a stranger seemed like a recipe for waterworks.

They took A to the mall in the afternoon, with a tummy full of lunch & having had a good morning nap.  They waited in line for a half an hour, and pointed out to me afterwards that despite other kids in line who were crying, A stayed calm and in a good mood.

Finally, she got her turn with The Big Guy.  Santa must really have a way with the wee ones, because not only did she not cry, she seems pretty happy in her photo.  I was half-expecting to get one of those red-faced, tear-streaked sorts of Santa photos.  You know, the ones that everyone gets a good chuckle out of, in later years.

Santa photo 2013Nope, as far as Santa photos go, A’s is great!

E-I-E-I-Ugh

I have a very busy baby. She has lots on her daily agenda, including squirming, wriggling, standing, cruising, bouncing, and so on. The change table is no different.

A loves to make changing her diaper a challenge. She tries to roll over. She sits up. She grabs my hair, or pulls wipes from the container, or plants her feet and pushes her body towards the end of the table. I strap her down and it slows her down a bit. I hand her little things to play with, like her hair brush.  The one thing that stops the wiggling for a minute or two, however, is singing Old MacDonald.

I can usually get through 4 or 5 animals before she loses interest and resumes her Cirque du Soleil training. That’s usually plenty of time to deal with a wet diaper.  This also means that I sing the song a lot. At most diaper changes, in fact.  As any parent knows, while repetition is the key to success, it is also they key to going completely bonkers.

Because of this, A will grow up knowing that Old MacDonald has a very diverse farm. He has horses, cows, pigs, and all the usual barnyard friends. He also has tractors (vroom vroom!), crows (squawk squawk!), swimming pools (splish splash), lions (roar roar!), and sometimes even tuna (blub blub!). The cast of extras varies depending on how creative I feel, how awake I am, and how many times I’ve sung that day. I’ve probably screwed her up for song time in kindergarten but at least she’s learning what sounds things make.

Back to work

I feel wiped today.  I wasn’t up particularly late, though I did have a tough time falling asleep.  I was busy last night organizing A’s bag, packing her bottles, making my lunch, and laying everything out that I would need today.  I knew that 6am would feel pretty early and I wanted to just grab and go.

A slept until 7am, as usual, giving me plenty of time to get ready before rousing her.  I dropped her off with Grandma and Grandpa for a day of getting spoiled, and made my way to work.

The new office is great.  My coworkers were very welcoming.  I was kept busy for most of the day, and for that I’m thankful.  I didn’t get to dwell on A’s absence, there was no time.  My new job will be quite time-sensitive so there won’t be much time spent gazing out the window, wondering what my daughter is up to.

I was pretty anxious to get home at the end of the day and the bus just didn’t go fast enough for my taste.  I came home to hubby cooking dinner and A in her high chair, pushing food around and chattering away.  It was lovely to get back to my family.

I will survive being away from A.  She will be going to daycare for the first full day tomorrow so I hope she has as easy of a time as today.  Grandma and Grandpa will have her one day a week, which is a wonderful opportunity to build a relationship with them.  But, as hubby pointed out, daycare will be her first chance to build her own relationship with someone.  It’ll be a great experience for her, no doubt.