Monday, February 25, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

Six weeks ago we hired a combination nanny-housekeeper. I never followed up the discussion on nanny vs daycare, but in the end we decided to hold off on daycare for a little while longer. I trained our new housekeeper room by room on the cleaning, the laundry, some basics in the kitchen, and of course Little Boy's schedule. The goal, after all, was to make sure that Little Boy was still getting outside play time, and stayed fed, even if I was busy nursing Baby Brother or catching up on sleep. With M gone for long hours of the day, we wanted to make sure that I had help with the kiddos and the house during the daytime hours.
As the title of this post might have clued you in, last week we hit a bump in the road.  One day the nanny called that she couldn't come for personal reasons. Another she just didn't show up. As our house was falling into disarray, and my plans to finish some last minute projects disassembled for lack of child care, we got the final lurch: she would not be back. 
Over the weekend, we contacted our agency about the situation and with one week until my due date, we resolved to try to get in as much training as we could manage with a new nanny starting on Monday morning. I spent some time writing out a little manual with the key points in our house in case I didn't have enough time to go over everything in person, and informed a couple local friends of the situation (since we were now lacking childcare for Little Boy).
Monday at 12:30 a.m.  I got woken up by an excruciating pain in my back. Thinking I had just moved badly, I tried to reacommodate. I had barely gone to bed an hour earlier; this couldn't be the real deal...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Second Time Around: The Third Trimester- Part 2

Week 34- The belly button could not be any more stretched out. And it hurts.

Week 35- It's sad when you need to retire maternity pants and you're still pregnant. That is all.

Week 36- Kicking near the ribs (the first time I have felt that, ever really). More frequent Braxton-Hicks. Still obsessing over coconut water.

Week 37- Feeling HUGE. We saw two doctors this week (old and new). Baby Brother is estimated at 3 kilos, fluid levels looking good. Insane back pain. Baby is posterior and I'm doing everything I can to turn him around.

Week 38- Went from trying to get everything done mode to don't want to do anything mode. Seriously bad back pain at all hours of the day. In good news, the kiddo flipped around and everything is still looking good. The ultrasound tech estimates I still have another 2 weeks or so.

Week 39- Evening nausea and fatigue is setting in. Time to SLOW DOWN. Some crampiness. There's no more room in there!

Week 40- I am scheduling this post to post because, you know, it's time. If I have not given birth yet, I'm sending an eviction notice.

38 weeks

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mi Chaparrito

Our little guy, Baby Brother "B" is here! Born on Monday via natural VBAC we are falling in love already. I'll be back shortly with the birth story and all that good stuff.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth



I picked up this book in order to have one more push in the natural direction. I wanted to read more birth stories and know that I CAN do it. Unfortunately, I found it somewhat disappointing. The first half is full of birth stories but many were lacking the nitty gritty details that I wanted to read and at a certain point they just seemed to get repetitive

The second half was more general information about pregnancy, labor, birth and various procedures. While there were parts that were indeed enlightening and I hadn't read about in other sources (eg. the relationship between nutrition and toxemia), I found much of the information quite superficial. Obviously I expected the book to be anti-interventionist, but at times the tone was a little strong for me. A couple chapters were thoroughly boring in my personal opinion (history of midwifery), and so all in all while I appreciated the outlook, I didn't love this book.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

We had a low key day around here: M had to be at the hospital all day, so he brought this gorgeous bouquet last night:


In return, I sent him off with pancakes and brownies to enjoy throughout the day. Little Boy and I also had pancakes, and his valentine was a purple balloon that I blew up just for him. Happiest kid ever! We did some of our normal activities but focused our cooking efforts on a chocolate raspberry pie. I would say he most definitely approved of our Mommy-Boy day. 


Hope you had a lovely day! Feliz día del Amor y la Amistad!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rodeo Season

In the southern US and in Mexico, right about now is rodeo season. I don't know enough about rodeos to know if it's a worldwide thing or not. Checking out the local rodeo has been on our to-do list since we first got here and it's one of those things I'm really glad we were able to do. Little Boy is obsessed with horses so he was mesmerized. The kiddo loved the banda music and probably could have stayed a lot longer if it wasn't smack in the middle of nap time, and overall both M and I were quite impressed.





Monday, February 11, 2013

Routine (19 Months)

Little Boy's routine has had very little changes in the past few months. Nevertheless, we are doing enough things differently that I thought it was worth a post.

8:30- Out of bed. The actual wake-up is often a little earlier but this is generally when the kiddo makes enough movement/noise for me to actually go into his room. We then (usually) sit on the potty for a minute and then start getting dressed.

9:00- Breakfast downstairs. Most likely oatmeal, otherwise could be a bagel with cream cheese, bread with peanut butter and jelly or pancakes. Often times followed by a long several-book-long sitting on the potty.


9:30- Play and prepare to leave the house. Lots of variability here: sometimes we're upstairs getting dressed, other times reading endless books (see above), or if we got up early we might just be playing with toys in the play room.

10:30- We leave every day otherwise it's a really long day. Twice a week we go to to gymnastics, once Mommy goes to yoga and the Boy stays with Daddy or Nanny, two more days are for grocery shopping/errands and play dates. On the weekend we try to do something fun. Noticeably missing is a morning snack; ever since we cut it out, lunches have gone a whole lot better.

12:30- Lunch: our main meal of the day. Usually based on whatever dinner food I had made the night before, supplemented with veggies and occasionally fruit.

13:15- Nap time: we have a very specific routine and Little Boy is quite insistent that we follow it to the T. We come in his room and close the curtains and bathroom door and put on the monitor. Then we sit on his bed and he likes to be covered with 2 blankets- polka dots around his back and sheep on his legs. We then read a story or two, he lies down, gets covered, sleep machine on and I'm out.

15:15- Up from the nap, usually after an hour and a half, sometimes two, the kiddo likes to dawdle in his room for a bit before we head downstairs.


16:00- Snack: this is almost always fruit- a whole banana or half a grapefruit are popular options. Occasionally an apple, grapes or watermelon. From time to time he requests something from the pantry like tortilla chips, in which case I make us some guacamole.

16:30- Indoor creative activity and outside play time. We devote this part of the day to either playing musical instruments, drawing or doing some cooking activity. We also make sure to play outside for a while and get out that energy. If Daddy is home Little Boy gets some prime soccer training time, otherwise it's more rock/dirt/grass exploration time.

18:30- Dinner: It's hit or miss whether our dinner is actually ready at this time, so usually Little Boy has his own meal here. We usually go for plain yogurt with frozen berries (prefers blueberries), green vegetable (prefers peas) and one or two more items depending on what he ate during the day. I take dinner as an opportunity to fill in whichever food group he was lacking from during lunch/snack.

19:00- Post-dinner, pre-bath we play a little bit indoors to get out those final bits of energy before heading upstairs.


19:15- Bath time: Daddy's in charge- there's bathing, playing, and teeth-brushing, some foggy mirror/wall drawing, followed by drying, diapering and pajamas. Usually he calls out for "Na!" at the top of his lungs, and I come in to do a bedtime story and put him down. We follow the same routine as for the nap, (adding a night light), except this time I try to limit us to one book and it needs to be one I have memorized because it's too dark to actually read!

20:00/20:30- Little Boy's in bed until the following morning!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Preparing for Birth: New Directions

After our last discussion, I came away with an uneasy feeling that I needed to try out a different care provider. This time it was 180 degree turn: the office was small on a residential street, the doctor had us sitting on a couch next to him, felt the position of the baby with his hands, listened with a doppler, looked at the scale for about 10 seconds and declared everything well. It was the least medical doctor's visit I have been to in a while. Granted, we had come to him on the knowledge that this was a practice specializing in VBACs and water births but his 100% success rate in VBACs for the last year definitely made us feel as if they would do everything to give us the birth experience we wanted. I wish I could say that I was totally convinced after our meeting, but I wasn't yet. I didn't have the rapport of months of visits and we hadn't left much time for that.

This particular doctor encourages the use of a doula, so our next step was meeting with a doula that came highly recommended by a local friend. During the meeting we discussed my first birth story, some advice for the birth and onwards, and things we can do to prepare. A couple days after the meeting when I had finally processed everything we discussed I felt significantly better about the situation. We had an alternative and were starting to form a plan.

At 36 weeks we had our last appointment with the old doctor and a second appointment with the new one. Even though my mind was mostly made up, these final appointments solidfied my feeling that New Doctor was the right choice. I suppose at this point it was all about attitude: Old Doctor warned me about gaining too much weight and mentioned that Baby Brother was posterior and that would make labor hard. New Doctor said we are right on track and wanted to know about my emotional well-being and expectations for labor (for myself and for him).

We had two final benchmarks at 37 weeks. First we went to get a final ultrasound and got news that everything was looking good; the tech predicted we were still about two weeks out from D-Day. The second was a childbirth preparation class focusing on labor positions. Since we had opted out of the full course, our doula, who was teaching the class, suggested we come for this one practical lesson. The entire class was in a dimly lit room with candles flickering and ambient music. We went over various positions with the birth ball, standing, sitting, massage, etc. M took a little nap during our final relaxation exercise so I think it was working. So that's where we're at: all systems a go.


My Birth Preparation Saga:
My Pre-Birth Plan
Prenatal Yoga
Reading: Easy LaborThe Birth Partner
Preparing a Birth Plan: Reality Check
Preparing a Birth Plan: Details & Discussion
Preparing for Birth: Making Peace


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Snapshots

Lately, I've been trying to be better about capturing some of our everyday moments, especially as our routine is going to be changing in the very near future. Here's a random collection from the past couple of weeks.

 Story time in the recliner

 Eating like us: this time with chopsticks

 Mommy-invented games: blocks into the milk box

 Mr. Independent makes his own juice

 Helping with the gardening

 The NO face: I secretly love it!

 Checking out the fish market

 Pool in February: not the best idea

Superbowl: Dinner eaten with a toothpick in front of the TV

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crib to Bed Transition

I had a feeling the transition from a crib to a twin bed would go well and I'm happy to report that it did! I was itching to get this done sooner than later because a) I didn't want Little Boy to feel like the new baby was "taking" his crib, and b) I wanted to stop having to lift Little Boy in and out of the crib. So on his 19 month birthday, we did it.

A couple weeks earlier, we had taken the twin bed base out of the room, and left the mattress on the floor in its new position (strategically placed on the opposite side, so that the dresser was now in front of the only plug in the room). On D-Day, Little Boy agreed to nap on the big bed with his doggie, and I was hoping that the night would be just as easy. Not quite.

We were planning on taking the crib out of his room and started disassembling it, only to realize that the frame didn't fit through the doorway. We ended up leaving 3/4 of a crib in the room, but at this point it was bath time and there was no going back. The first night was a little rough. Little Boy was pointing at his crib (what was left of it) and not wanting to lie down on the big bed. He requested more and more stories and refused to put on a sleep sack. I offered to stay for a bit and snuggle, but the kiddo was restless. Eventually I just had to leave. It took just under an hour for him to finally settle down and lie down. Even at this age it is so hard to hear your kiddo cry! I snuck in later to cover him with a blanket.

Day 2

Night two was a little better. We had been talking for a while about how big boys sleep in big beds and made a point of looking at books with bed pictures during that day. Little Boy knew that his bed was a big one and not a crib. Nap time again was easy. Still when night came, he was a little sad and didn't want to be left in the big bed. I didn't dawdle too long, and he cried for about 1 minute before getting accommodated and going to sleep. I was impressed, until an hour later when the kiddo rolled off the bed! He cried, I ran in, and though he requested a story I just put him down, covered him again and soon enough he was sleeping like a baby.

Our third night there was no crying. The kiddo was exhausted so we read a story, I told him to lie down, covered him and left. On night four he asked me to lie down next to him, so I did for a little bit, and then while he was still awake, told him I needed to turn on his waves (sleep sheep). I got up to do that, covered him and left. In the middle of the night he fell off the bed. This time it was much harder to get him to go back to sleep. I stayed with him for a while until he had sufficiently calmed down and then left. Night five was easy and uneventful (and by then we had managed to take the door off the room to get the rest of the crib out), and night six seemed uneventful but in the morning I hear on the monitor "uh-oh", and there he was on the pillows again. Night seven was a little rough with a middle of the night waking that brought M into the room for several hours, but we'll attribute it to a cold because from then on we've been pretty much in the clear. Shenanigans from here on out I wouldn't attribute to the transition but just general toddlerhood. All in all it wasn't too bad!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Checking In on the To Do List

We're officially entering Birth Month! So I thought it was high time to check in on my to-do list and see how things are moving along (and get in gear to finish up the final items)!


1- Hire a housekeeper:
a- make list of qualities desired (Dec)- DONE!
b- interview, negotiate hours and pay, contract (Jan)- DONE!
c- make list of tasks (Jan)- DONE!

2- Revamp the playroom
a- buy and paint secondary bookcase (late Jan)- not even close...first carpenter was busy, second expensive, and I haven't found anything ready-made that suits our purposes.
b- set up changing area, crib (Feb)- half done, the crib is set up but the changing area is not (see above).
c- take twin bed to our room (mid-Feb)- DONE!
d- bonus: build play kitchen- probably not happening at this point

3- Prepare BB1 room
a- clean out office credenza, transfer BB1 stuff into it (late Dec)- DONE!
b- take BB1 wardrobe and move to our room (late Dec)- DONE!
c- transition BB1 to twin bed (late Jan)- DONE! Yay!
d- make new blackout curtains, and hang (early Jan)- DONE!
e- get/build bathroom stool (Dec)- DONE!
f- bonus: potty training (Jan)- we've tried/are trying but it doesn't look like it's happening

We drove all the way out here to meet a carpenter...

4- Prepare our bedroom
a- organize furniture to accommodate twin bed and wardrobe (early Feb)- DONE!
b- take out newborn items out of storage and put in wardrobe (late Jan)- DONE!
c- rewash some items and put away (early Feb)- not yet
d- organize nursing and pumping items for accessibility (early Feb)- not yet
e- install old blackout curtains from BB1 room (late Jan)- DONE!
f- get glider/rocker (late Jan)- DONE!
g- sell desk and chair (late Jan)- half done, desk sold, chair not :(

5- Freezer cooking
a- finish cleaning out freezer (early Jan)- DONE!
b- cook and freeze meals (late Jan- early Feb)- DONE! We have: corn chowder, mushroom pasta sauce, fried fish, daal, onion quiche, broccoli quiche, palak paneer, mix veg, eggplant parm (2), stuffed zucchinis (3), fried chicken, chicken soup, enchiladas (2), cauliflower au gratin, lentil soup, homemade pizza (2), chicken pot pie, red pasta sauce. 

6- Odds and Ends
a- go on USA shopping trip: finish getting gear (end Nov/early Dec)- DONE!
b- update laundry directions printout and visiting guests printout- In progress, I'm working on making it more of a packet with printouts of places to take Little Boy, so it's taking a little longer.
c- organize storage bookshelves: buy some extra boxes, organize crafting-(late Dec)- DONE!
d- go around house and get rid of stuff we're not using anymore (late Dec)- Mostly done; I still need to finish up a couple areas but most areas are tidy and purged.
e- organize office (new storage boxes, dehumidify bathroom)- DONE!
f- create more laundry hanging room: outside lines/freestanding hanging (early Jan)- DONE!
g- clean, organize, re-stock pantry (late Dec)- DONE!

7- Projects to Finish Up
a- Big Brother's baby book- In progress, as in I'm actively working on finishing it, but still need to add some pictures etc.
b- photo books for a couple trips- not even close
c- random house decor: change playroom frames, new calendar, others- Partially done, more to do but I'm not sure how much of it I actually will get done.

8- Last Minute Baby Stuff:
a- install car seat- nope
b- pack hospital bag- nope
c- research placenta encapsulation/ water birth- nope


All in all the big things are taken care of and I do feel mostly ready for Baby Brother even if not all of these get finished. That said, I am making an effort to knock a few more items off the list these next couple of weeks!