Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dear Riley,

Dear Riley,

You are now 10 months and quite the independant kid, you also are very stubborn and know what you want. I wonder who you get those qualities from? ;P

This last month you have started standing on your own, I am told this is the precurser to walking. I must admit I am not sure I am ready for that, and I know the house nor the girls (gemma and bella) are.

You absolutly love our cats. Gemma will let you pet her and even give her kisses, till you try and pull her wiskers, then she is out of there. Recently she started telling you "no" by smacking your hand with her paw. At first she does it lightly with her claws in, then she works her way to claws out and hard. It has yet to make you cry, but you get her point. I am happy to see you two work things out on your own. Issabella, on the other hand prefers the run away and hide or climb to where you cant get her approch. You have tried to grab her wiskers one to many times and thus even if you are sitting on my lap she will not approch you. So far I think this is funny but i do hope you two work things out.

You have decided that everything you can reach is yours and do not like giving anything to me or daddy. Any paper on the floor, or item from my bag if left in reach goes into your mouth. I often tell others that you will willingly put anything in your mouth as long as it isn't food. This isn't entirely correct because you will put old food in your mouth, such as two day old noodle you found under the fridge. YUCK!

Right now you love older kids. Julian has come over a few times to play with you and you just laugh and laugh and laugh at everything he does. Even when we have play dates you will sit there watching the other kids and just laugh. When you interact you tend to be a little rough. I am trying to work on this with you because of your friends you are both the youngest and the biggest. The park or mall is my favorite outing because you can people watch with me. You have also started to like the swings! I am so excited about this! There is no longer any doubt that you are my kid! You also like the slide but are still hesitant about going down by yourself. Playing with the leaves is also a fun past time you enjoy, I try my best to keep them out of your mouth, but fail misrably.

Tooth #3 broke through this month. OMG that was hell. You kid are one hard child to please when you are teething!

Speaking of being hard to please, I am wishing I had stuck with baby sign more because you have a hard time getting me to give you what you want without whinning at me. The whining makes me want to stick something in my ears till they bleed. I really really hate it.

When you are happy you do babble a lot, and this is much prefered to the whinning. You make the sounds la-da-ma-ba- and ie quite often. The other day we thought we heard the ki in kitty but you haven't done it since. You do however say ma-ma in context and out of a lot. You say it the most when you are upset and want me.

Although you and I spend the most time together, you prefer daddy to feed you, you eat so much better for him. However you like to climb on me, pull my hair and mooterboat. You have a serious foot/toe fetish. You love to bite my toes! It is so funny but painful too. I think it is all those games of kissy feet we played.

This month has been packed with so much fun and joy for our family. Daddy and I love you so much. We have such a great time watching you grow and change each day. You are the best little boy we could have ever wished for and we wouldn't change you or trade you for the world.

Love,
Your Mommy

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sleep Traning

R and I bit the bullet and started sleep training last week. We had tried the No Cry Sleep Solution, which after night two I was calling the No Sleep Everyone Cries Solution, it lasted till the middle of night 4 when I gave in BF him till he was asleep and then went to sleep myself. I just could not do it and the fact that the book tells you it could take weeks and even months to work made me okay with stopping.

Bitting the bullet and Ferbering was HARD but in the end it was the best thing for us and Riley. Why did I finally decide to Ferber (method of sleep training)?
1) I have done it before, and while I know it sucks. It also WORKS!
2) Riley's sleep was getting worse again. And by worse I mean that 6-8 times a night he would get up for any where from 15minutes to an hour and half.
3) He slept longer than 2 hours one night and I dreamed I was being arrested for shaking my son to death. I then ran into his room and cried over him for a good 20 minutes till R came in and got me back into bed.
4) Lack of sleep was now effecting not just me and Riley but also R's job.
5) Timing. Riley is 8 almost 9 months letting him cry isn't as big of a deal as when he was 5 or 6 months. I was/am also ready to night wean. I also knew if we waited much longer it would be even harder because he would be learning new skills.


I can honestly say that when we started Ferber I was ready, I was scared as hell but I also knew something had to change. People kept telling me that it would get better but Riley showed no signs of that happening and like I said things were getting worse. I know that while I was still doing a lot of second guessing the first day by night fall I had decided we had to at least give this a try. R and I committed to a week and no more than 3 hours of Riley crying in a row. Traditional Ferber would have you let them cry all night as long as you keep going in, both of us were not okay with that.

I kept a log of our nights here is how they went:

Night 1:

It all went very well given how hard I thought it was going to be. He showed sleepy signs a little early yesterday so we put him down at 6:40 he didn't cry hard at first but about 10 minutes in he screamed like holy hell. I found it easier to go in with R than not to because then I could see that he was okay. We spent the time he cried watching TV so that we could not hear him all that much. It took him 50 minutes to go to sleep.

He then woke twice last night. Once at 11pm and once at 3am. Again we went into the living room and watched TV because our bedroom is next to his and no matter what we could hear him crying in there. It took him 40 minutes the first time and 30 the second for him to fall asleep.. For these only R went in. We figured this was best since we were trying to night wean as well. Riley woke this am at 5:50 only 10 minutes before his "normal" wake up. We decided to let it slide and just bring him into bed for his am feeding. I couldn't believe how much he was slurping down! He still only took one side, but that side was FULL since I hadn't feed all night.

I realize things are likely to get worse tonight or tomorrow before they get a lot better but I now know at least a little of what to expect. I feel really good about it. I didn't cry at all over him crying. I let R handle going in and stayed out of the way, big step for me. I only wanted to cave once and it was brief, he had just gotten to what we thought was asleep when he let out this pitiful yell and then was quite. I feel ready to do it again tonight, knowing that we really have made the best choice for Riley.

Question: When you go in... what do you do? Do you just check on him and leave, does he see you?

We debated a lot about what to do when we go in. For us we pick up ONLY if he is standing. We do this because a) if he is standing then he is still very much awake and b) he still has trouble getting down some times. We always say "We love you" and then that we know he is frustrated and tired, that we know this is hard for him but he needs to learn how to go to sleep. Then "It is time for sleep. We love you, good night" and we leave. He tends to scream a little more right when we leave but he calms down. Since we are also night weaning I only went in when we put him down the first time. For the rest DH went in. I could tell this was hard on him but he did GREAT and I made sure to tell him so a lot. If he is laying down or sitting down then we stroke his head or pat his bottom, both things I do when I nursed to sleep. I figured the soothed him before so they should be soothing now too, at least I hope so. As for when we go in tonight we did 3 minutes then 7 then 12, going in every 12 till he is asleep.

Night 2:
Tonight we went in at 4 then 8 then 12 this will be what we do from here on out.

As I thought night 2 was harder, not really from a physical standpoint but from an emotional one. First it took me till 10:30 last night to get to sleep, which is only late compared to the time I had been going to bed (8pm).

It took Riley only 15 minutes to go to bed last night! He did still cry but not as hard. He still got up at 11 and then once again it took him a very short period of time to get to sleep about 20 minutes. At 2 he woke again but this time it was a 1/2 hour to get back to sleep and he cried harder than the other two times. This was by far hardest on me. My breasts are full and I just wanted to make sure he was okay but I knew if I did it would make things worse. Plus while R was amazing the first night, last night I could tell he resented having to be the one to go in. I hate that he feels that way. However I don't think he realizes how much I let him sleep when I was BFing and up 7, 8 or even 9 times a night. I don't know what to do about him feeling this way. I am not going to be able to go in to soothe for at least the next week.

Night 3
It took him 15 minutes to go to sleep, he didn't cry all the time but did off and on. I must admit to thinking this would be the worst night. I figured the shoe would drop any second. When he woke at 8:25 after going down at 7 I figured "here we go" but when R went in he saw that he was asleep and crying from trying to roll over and hitting his head on the crib. He moved him from the corner to the middle of the crib and in less than a minute Riley was once again asleep. Riley woke up once more that night and cried for under 30 minutes before he went back to sleep.

Like the night before R was the only one to go in and he kept the same intervals as night two 4, 8, and 12.

Night 4:
Had two wake ups and each time cried for about 20 minutes.

Night 5:
STTN! Yep you read that right he fucking slept from 7pm till 5:50 am.

Night 6-10:
These nights we had only one wake up and it between 4-5am. It sucks that he still cries for a long time (20-50) but each night he cries less, and when I put him down at night he goes right to sleep no tears at all.

Has it been worth it? Yes. If he had only been getting up twice a night then I would say no but I was getting so little sleep some nights it was as if I hadn't slept at all. It still hurts like hell to listen to him cry but where I was before we ferbered was at the end of a rope about to hang myself. For our family this was the right choice no matter how much I hated the idea of it.

Long Term Effects: I am still worried about this. Riley's temper has gotten worse. When he wants the boob he means NOW! It breaks my heart that he thinks I won't give it to him but after all isn't that what we are doing at night? It still hurts though and I am sure to have a bunch of mommy guilt over this for years and years to come.

If you have Q's about something I didn't cover leave it in a comment I will be happy to clarify.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Solid Foods

I request was made for me to talk about solid foods, but I am not exactly sure what to say about it.

Let me start by saying I had every intention of making all organic, all local grown baby food. Pusha! That quickly went down the drain, let me tell you baby food can be difficult! I did carrots four times before I got them to work, and even once they were smooth they didn't taste very good. Plus it was a HUGE time commitment for me. So now I make about 1/3 of his food. I mostly make the fruits because they are easy and quick and yummy. I leave the meats and most of the veggies to those who know what they are doing. I still try to buy all organic, but he has had a few non organic ones. Like mangoes which he loves!

As for the order in which we went I started with oatmeal. Rice cereal has gluten and is known to cause constipation, Riley was already a reluctant pooper we didn't need him even more backed up. Then we did avocado (homemade= h-m)! Oh how he loved this! Now not so much and I can't figure out why. Followed clossly by sweet potatoes and then applesauce. We then did carrots, blueberries, peas, squash, and pears. Rather than introduce all veggies and then the fruits I mixed them up. But we also started at 6 months not 4 like so many people do now. I will get to why 6months and not 4 in a second. Then we did meats, given the sleep issues I chose to start with turkey. He has also had chicken but not any beef or other meats. At 8 months (on the day) we started yogurt. I feel strongly that Riley needs to at least partly wean by a year. After all at the time he was up at night eating 5-9 times, you would want to partly wean to if you were me!

When to start: R has massive, food issues and in-tolerances. We have kept Riley away from all things R can't have in the hopes that he won't develop the same issues. I also don't feel babies need or are ready for "real" food till after 6 months. That said we introduced 'early' because 2 different drs promised it would help the reflux. (cough) BULLSHIT (cough. However Riley had tongue thrust issues that made getting food into his tummy a challenge and so we quickly stopped and re-introduced foods at 6 months. Things went much smoother from then on. I will be honest that while I feel strongly that waiting till 6 months was right for us, I have no idea if it is right for you or anyone else. And quite frankly that goes with just about all my parenting choices, except maybe circumcision, that I can get a little judgy about.


If this doesn't cover what you wanted to know let me know.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ugg, here we go again

We started night weaning this week, as well as sleep training but that is the next post, and the timing really could not have been worse. I had just gotten over my period and so my supply was already low. I also had just gone back to school. School means I miss his lunch feeding, and since I can't pump at school my body thinks that 2 days a week Riley doesn't need that feeding. My regular pump has lost 1/2 its suction as well, so while it works great for overnights when my breasts feel like they might exsplode it does crap shit nothing to help increase/maintain a supply. Add to all this that Riley's day intake has gone through the roof, because he isn't taking in anything in at night, and you have a massive supply issue. So, I called up my local breast pump center and rented one for a week. Thus, "Ugg, here we go again"

baby proofing

Riley is CRAWLING! It is very exciting and scary at the same time. R is NOT good about picking up after himself and despite that I have been baby proofing for a few weeks now, not all of it is done. But at least after years of nanning I have a handle on how to go about baby proofing. In the hopes that others might learn from what I have seen here is my advice:

1) Start early! Start before they crawl, and can get everywhere. I promise in the long run you will be thankful.

2) Biggest dangers are poison, outlets and if you have them stairs. Start there! Do under the bathroom sink and the kitchen first, that is were most people store chemicals. Do the outlets in the "play room" first and then work your way through the rooms from most used to least, and don't forget the hall ways!

3) Secure things to the walls!!! We have a LARGE book case in the living area. You can be darn sure that thing is bolted to the wall!

4) Get onto the floor and look around. Seeing things from a baby view will help you baby proof.

5) When you think you are done invite a friend with a toddler over. I am sure they will help you find all the things you have missed. Stick out tongue

Monday, August 24, 2009

Me Me ME!

I might write this blog but sometimes very little of it is actually about me. I feel as if motherhood has swallowed me up in some regards, breastfeeding and a baby that doesn't sleep do not help the issue.

So last week in the hopes of doing something NOT baby related where my primary role was not that of mother, I went back to school. I got a few strange looks when I announced this to other moms, but for the most part it was well received. i still felt like it was a selfish choice in some ways but then was reminded be friends of all the benefits to Riley:
1) Time in someone else's care really is good for him because one day he will be in day care and it will be good if that isn't too much of a shock for him.
2) Well educated parents are an indicator of success in the educational setting. (This is why pre-school forms ask for amount of parental education on enrollment forms.)
3) A happier mommy! And a happier mommy is a more interactive mommy.

It isn't even like I am gone that long, it is one measly class that I will at some point need for grad school, but 2.5 hours away twice a week is heavenly! I am loving it for so many reasons:

1) I love school, even if my class is economics.
2) It makes me get out of the house.
3) Adult conversation is wonderful! Especially when it isn't on the topic of poop!
4) It is clearing cobwebs from my brain.
5) There is a ton of analysis in economics! Yes I am one of those people who thrives on analysis. I find it fun!

So far Riley is loving his time with grandma and I am loving my time too. It is amazing how quickly you can forget who you are when the title of MOM comes along. For now this is how I am keeping that title from taking over my life. It isn't much but it is a small step.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Letting Go

Sorry for not being here in a while. I have a few things on my mind so there are going to be a bunch of short posts in the next few days.


Letting Go

I am good about not freaking on developmental milestones, except one, crawling! Riley is not crawling and it is making me worry. It isn't about his age, 8 months, but the fact that he was a c-section baby. One of the BIG benefits of coming out the "right way" is that getting squeezed increases the connection of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Crawling is a skill that further increases that connection. My mommy guilt needs him to crawl soon, I still hate my c-section, still feel jiped out of one of the most amazing things on earth, and I still have LOTS of guilt that if I had done a b or c differently the c-section could have been avoided. Told you I had a lot of mommy guilt on the subject. I have wanted him to crawl so that those two parts of the brain are well connected, and to lessen my own guilt.

But today I am letting it go. I know I will be really excited and thrilled when it happens but I am starting to feel like I am waiting for Mr. Right to come along. You know how when you are single and looking for mr. right everyone says he will come along when you least expect it. Well that was most defiantly the case for me, and I am hoping by letting go my obsession with crawling he masters it soon.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dear Riley,

Dear Riley,

You are now 8 months old and daily I find myself wondering where my little 6 pound baby went. There is no longer any sign of him, which makes me both sad and excited. You are learning so much these days. This month you got to the seated position on your own, pulled up to standing, and are now hands and knees rocking although you have yet to crawl. I am certain that next month will bring me a crawling little boy. I think you will be happier when you crawl too, although I might start losing my hair, because right now you are frustrated a lot when things are just out of reach.

You look like a little boy now too. Gone are the baby features I loved. Your hair is still soft your checks still rosie but they resemble those of a toddler now more than an infant. I am excited for what the futre holds for those looks of yours. You are a handsome little guy and people stop us every day to tell us how cute and beautiful you are.

In the last week you have gone from babilling a little to babbiling a LOT. You hold conversations with strangers, with us and even by yourself. It is adorable! You also have a little bit of stranger anxiety coming out. Your motto was once a smile for a smile but now you are more stingy with people you don't know. You still seem to have plenty of smiles for family, including grandparents and mom and dad.

You are officially to big for the infant car seat, which makes naps more difficult if you fall asleep in the car. You just don't transition well. You still aren't sleeping well. We had swine flu this month and it wasn't as bad as the hype. It did however bring a week straight of you getting up every 45 minutes all night long. To say we are exausted is an understatement. I can no longer tolerate anyone who tells me how tired they are because their child was up 2-3 times at night. Despite the lack of sleep we wouldn't trade you for any other baby in the world, but we do hope you sleep better this month. I threaten you weekly that I will buy the Ferber book. You just smile at me, I think you know I don't have the heart.

Your first tooth broke through the gums, giving us more challenges when it comes to breast feeding. I am still hanging in there though. You however need to learn 1) not to bite and 2) that you can't rub the tooth along my nipple. THAT HURTS KID! I am holding onto hope that we will get to breast feed till 18 months, even if it is just am and bed time.

My favorite memory from this month is when you stood for the first time. You were so proud of your self! You just beamed with delight! It was adorable and it warmed my heart.

I am looking forward to what this next month brings. I am sure it will be a ton of fun just as the last 8 months have been.

Love Your Mommy,
Ariel

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sleep Deprivation

Just because I stooped posting about it doesn't mean it isn't continuing to happen. Sleep is still an issue for us, a normal night includes him waking up about 5-7 times each for about 20-30minutes. Last week he started moving up the wake up time. UGG! We tried everything, car rides, ignoring him till he was crying, moving up bedtime but nothing worked. Then this AM he slept till 6 am. It was bliss!

We are currently working on unswaddling, and last night I am proud to say he slept unswaddled all night long. This is a huge accomplishment for us. He also only woke up 3 times, obviously I would love for this trend to continue but we will see. We have introduced a lovie for him at night and he seems to find comfort in them, he won't put himself back to sleep but at least they help.

I have found that if you really want to stress out a relationship, don't let the people sleep. I have been awful to R the last few weeks and just sick and tired of everything he does, not because it is all that annoying but because when you are sleep deprived for long periods of time you are bound to get wound a little tight.

But all that did lead to us having some good talks about household jobs and Riley's care. And now things are a little more even in the chores department. And he is getting better about giving me time to myself. Which now includes sleeping in at least once if not twice a week! It is just an extra 2 hours but those 2 hours are heaven!

I have no idea when the sleep deprivation will stop, but for now we are managing. I would love it if 3 times a night became the new norm, I know that sounds crazy since lots of 7 month old STTN but at this point 3 times a night sounds like heaven.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Suplementation ?

Every month for 7 months now my supply drops and then BOOM me period shows. This month it was a double wammy because she was late and I had gotten my hopes up that I was pg. Stupid me!

Every time she shows it is a battle of will to keep my supply going, I eat oatmeal and eggs for breakfast, double my protien intake and drink enough water to fill a swimming pool. Sometimes we even rent a hospital grade pump because while my PIS is great it is not any where close to a hospital grade pump. This month when she came R and I had a talk, I don't want to rent a pump again I told him. I just want to see what happens with my supply.

And so that is what we are doing. A few outcomes are possable:
a) my supply bounces back just fine
b) my supply takes a hit and we do some suplementing but overtime it comes back and we just supplement when my period shows up
c) we supplement all the time because my suply doesn't come back
d) We supplement now and then wean (not what I want to do)

I feel okay about a and b but not c and d makes me very sad, but at the same time I know I can't continue to be tied to my pump. I feel like I have no life when I am pumping after every meal and that is what it takes for me to regain my supply sometimes. I just don't want to keep doing that. Ofcourse if it looks likd d is going to happen then I will be renting that hospital pump. As ready as I am to not be tied to nursing, I am not ready to give up the benifits for my son.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Funny Things this Week

It has been a bad day. Just a bad day in general so I want to take a momment to remember the funny or just feel good momments of this week.

Tuesday: Leaving in the morning to visit Auntie Shannon, R asked me "you got everything you need" I responded with "no" and he asked me what I forgot and I told him "I won't know that till I need it"

Today: Walking into Day One "Long time," says the worker there "what can I help you with" and when I tell her I am there for the class she says "no you aren't" I tell her I pre-paid and she says "you aren't on my list." Then I tell her " Your list has last weeks date on it, I want to go to the class for today."

Just now: This is my conversation wth DH.
Him: "What is for dinner?" Me: "In and out" Him: ......okay..... (realizing this means he needs to pick it up because he works right by the closest one, and if he is smart wondering if I am pg)

PS NOT pg

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Foodie

You would never know it by looking at my kid but he really hates to eat. What other kid reverse cycle eats (ie takes most of he feeds at night) and won't open up his mouth to eat. Yet Riley is still in the 75th % for weight, that is some darn good boobie juice! A week ago Sunday we had a break through, he opened his mouth for the avacado, then the sweet potatoes and then a few day later for the rice cereal. However get the applesauce anywhere near him and "Oh hell no" he seems to say shaking his head. He eats better when he isn't in his high chair or if we are out of the house, but no matter where we are the applesause is a no, do not pass go, do not collect 100 dollars. I am told that this phase will pass, even though no one can tell me when, and that it is the plight of many reflux mommies and daddies. For lunch I some times try to sweeten him up with showtunes, after all he is my kid and in the worst of moods singing seems to be the only thing to calm him down and brigten his day. So as I belted out "food gourious food" and I came to this realization: He might have R's looks but this is SO my kid! He has my personality all the way. When he wants something he wants it now and he wants thigs done his way. He likes to have all the control and do nust about everything himself. It is likely his first words will be "No, I do it!". We have in the last week had not one but TWO new feeding firsts. It can't be described so I will just share a pic:



And then he learned to feed himself! I would share the video but I can't figure out how to get it to upload. Can someone help me?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Grandma G's Visit

R's mom visited us last week and we all had a good time. She is just smitten with Riley, and he loved her too. When he first saw her he did cry a little he must have been wondering who the smiling blond was because up until this point in his life all the blondes he knows (is R's step mother) have perpetual scouwls. But he quickly adjusted to her and by the end of the week he was bouncing on her leg like he had know her for years.

R took 4 days off while she was here, one was a vacation day for the company and the other three he used were just regular vacation days. It was so nice having him home for that long, even if things did fall apart at his work. Riley really loved all the attention too. I don't think he was left along for longer than 5 seconds the whole visit.

On the 4th R's mom's side of the family had a big GTG which was fun, unless you were R who hated the whole thing. He doesn't get along with her family. Riley liked all the attention and was his normal smilie self. Everyone wanted to hold him but R and I had agreed before hand that no one but us would be holding him. Mean? Sure but only R and I are the ones who would have had to deal with an over stimulated baby if we had let him be passed around. Thankfully most people understood.

For the rest of the visit we mostly just hung out at home or did lunch out. We all had a good time and it was sweet to watch Riley interact with his other Grandma.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Thank You Note

Dear Shannon and Holly,

I don't know that I could ever find the words to properly thank you for all that you do for my family. I know that I am a better mother thanks to having you as friends. I have never been one to be able to function on such little sleep, but thanks to you guys I can make it through knowing there is a light at the end of my sleepless tunnel, and that you guys will take him for a night when things get too hard. I have often had parents tell me that they couldn't have raised such wonderful kids without me as the nanny. I always thought they were exadurating but now I see how far a helping hand can go.

I know there are people who can and do raise children on thier own, but I am so thankful to not have to be one of them. You bring so much more to Riley's life than just more sleep for his parents. You also bring a new love, a new smiling face and people he can count on when he needs someone other than a mommy or daddy. I look forward to him growing up and having you two to turn to. I know you will always do what is best for him and that puts my mind at ease.

Thank you for everything that you do for us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I don't know that I will ever be able to repay you for the things you have done for us but I will try.

Love Always,
Ariel

Angelina Jolie makes it look too easy

R comented to me the other night that I give him mixed signals about BFing. That one minute I am talking about how beautiful it is and the next threatining not to nurse number 2. And he is right I do have a very love hate relationship with breastfeeding but given our situation I think that is normal.

When Riley was first born I LOVED to bf him. It was a highlight of my day and I waxed poeticly to anyone who would listen that every woman should at least try it and after trying it they would have no choice but to stick with it because it is suck a beautiful thing. Then as we all know Riley's refulx got worse, he then hit a reverse cycle eating pattern and nothing has been the same sense. That said there are moments I still love it, moments where he caresses my breast or latches on himself and is a good feeder that I remember why I love it so much.

The part I still hate about bfing is that Riley won't take a bottle, or at least he won't take it from anyone other than his Aunts. We recently gave up the bottle in hopes of using a sippy cup. It for the most part works but I still find my self mostly attached to the little guy. R has yet to be able to give him a full feeding, even though my mom was able to. This means any time I get free so does R, which would be fine if it weren't that he also gets other free time too. The scale definatly tips in his favor even if he fails to see it that way.

I am sure my love hate relationship is bound to continue for a while longer. After all I have made it this far and it would suck to give formula now. I am still playing with the idea of exstended breastfeeding but I think Riley will be fully weaned by 18 months, that takes us through flu season and will allow us to time it right with a developmental age where self weaning or child lead weaning is more common.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bad Mommy/ Dear Riley

In all the excitement of this week I forgot to write my 7 month letter on the 7th. So here it is a few days late.

Dear Riley,

Every day I love you more and more, you learn a new task and my heart expands even more. I am not sure how much bigger it can get but I am sure it will continue to expand.

You are growing into such a sweet smiling social little boy. You smile at strangers and are happy letting them cue over you, until one of them touches you and then, watch out stranger cause you scream. You must sense me tensing up because I do hate it when strangers touch you. When I introduce you to new people it only takes a few moments for you to warm up. This is nice and it makes social events easier for me.

Daddy and I still take you everywhere with us. Thankfully you are a good little boy and are happy in my arms no matter where we are, baby wearing also makes this so much easier.

These days we are spending lots of time on the floor. Your favorite toys are the stacking blocks, roar and woof (your lovies) and your three elephants; rino, greenie, and plush. We even have a song for Greenie the green elephant, about her driving her prius and composting too. I think daddy and I like the song more than you do.

Oh my do you love to be sang to. Your favorites at them moment are You are my Sunshine and Row Row Row Your Boat, but you also love U2, you must have my musical tastes.

We have settled into somewhat of a routine again at least during the day but your night sleep is still wacky. I wish i could say it was getting better. Dr Wonderful seems to think CIO is the answer or that at least I should stop feeding you at night but I can't stand to listen to you cry. I am just hoping they peater down on their own again. We have had a few nights of only 2 wakings recently, I love those nights! I have confidence you will STTN on your own when you are ready.

You have finally meet all your cousins and Aunts. You loved seeing them and they all loved you so much. Aunt Tracy and cousin Melody fought over holding you the whole time they were with you. Aunt Sheila loved getting on the floor and playing with you too while Uncle Peter watched. It is obvious you are loved by everyone, and why wouldn't they love you? you are the best baby in the world after all!

I am enjoying our play time so much these days, you interaction level is great and you have some obvious likes and dislikes. You whine when you don't get your way or don't like something. I know this is a normal 7 month thing but I really hate it. I look forward to you outgrowing that! But play time really has been fun. you sit on your own and hand me toys. You love it when we play with the sit and spin toy Grandma D got you. We just have a blast together.

Grandma G recently spent a week with us. You loved having her here and it made me wish she lived closer. You loved that she let you untie her shoe laces over and over again, something mommy and daddy don't let you do. And you also loved bouncing on her knee and standing up in her arms. She thought you were the best baby ever and loved making you laugh and smile.

This month you learned:
to roll!
to get onto your tummy from a sitting position
to feed yourself!

I am looking forward to what the next month brings. Will you crawl? You have been trying to army crawl. Will you finally get a tooth, after all you have been teething since you were 4 months old? Or will it be something I haven't seen coming? I look forward to finding out.

Friday, June 19, 2009

He eats!

For some this might seem like a silly thing to be all excited about but for a reflux mommy this is nothig short of a miracle. Most parents love to go on and on about what kind of exotic foods thier kids eat, us reflux parents are just excited when they willingly eat anything! When we started solids I had high hopes after all R and I both love food and did as a child too. But soon I realized that while most of the time Riley's reflux no longer rears its ugly head, it had left some lasting impreasons on my child.

We had started with oatmeal almost a month ago now and while the first day or two I was thrilled with just a spoonful or two I soon realized he was clamping down his mouth much more than I remember other kids doing at his age. We did oatmeal for two weeks before we moved on to sweet potaoes. We hadn't had much luck with oatmeal but I was sure it was just the taste. When he refused sweet potatoes a little alarm went off in my gut.

Could all those nasty meds have left my son not wanting anything in his mouth? Or could it be that for Riley food= pain still? Which ever it was, it was not a good thing. I spoke with a few other reflux moms and we all had the same story, a child who took the breast fine, and ocasionally took the bottle BUT would NOT touch food.

I brought up my concerns to his pedi at our well visit and he said "then stop feeding him, if meal time isn't fun then stop for a while" I was shocked as was R but we backed off and then yesterday as I ate my lunch Riley lunged for my plate. I smilled and said "would you like some" and then I got him out some of his food.

He procceded to eat two tablespoons of oatmeal and a table spoon of sweet potatoes! I nearly jumped for joy. My son is eating!

Like I said, no big deal to most moms, but it means the world to us Reflux moms.

No, wait I am not ready!

We are on the verge of a new developmental milestone, and while everyone else seems to be excited about it, I am not so sure. On one hand this new milestone is a good thing, it means he is developing well, and that his motor development is normal something that has been laging behind since about 3 months. It also will make me feel better about the c-section, which I still look back on regretfully. However and this is a big however. It also means my little Riley is growing up. It means he is no longer a little infant and soon, gulp, will be a mobile toddler.

My mom was over today and she was commenting about how he was just about to do this new developmental task. At first I was giddy with laughter and then the laughing turned to tears, because I am NOT ready. Nope I am not ready at all and neither is my house. So I picked him up and proclamed: No more tummy time for you! At which Riley giggled, grnned and then gave me a kiss. If I could read his mind it would have said "haha mom, to late now!"

Can you guess what milestone Riley is about to do?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who is this baby?

I drempt a lot about what my child would look like when we were trying and even before DH and I met. I always pictured this chubby brown curly haired kid with big dark brown eyes, after all that is what I looked like as a baby. And when I married R that dream changed to a chubby baby with a double chin with lots of dark hair and maybe blue eyes but most likely brown. NEVER in a million years did I picture a blond/red haired almost bald baby with bright blue eyes, never not once in all those years together and all those months trying. And yet that is exactly what I got, and everyday he just gets cuter and more beautiful, and I fall deeper and deeper in love with him!

We must have paied for cloning services rather than fertility services.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Magnifacint Sleep

If you have been reading at all lately you know we have sleep issues, as in we aren't getting much and what we do get is broken into small chunks.

I have wondered for a while now if letting him side/belly sleep like he does on the boppy sometimes would work. So at his 6 month well visit I asked he he could tummy sleep. I fully exspected a resounding NO and a lecture about the risks of SIDS. I was amazed to hear that my Dr actually thought it would help him and said that it was okay now that he is 6 months old.

So tonight he is sleeping with one arm out of the swaddle me AND on his side/belly. I am trying not to be to hopeful and yet I pray this works. R needs more sleep and so do I, it is effecting not only us as a couple but also our parenting. I am just not being quite the parent I want to be. Example: Riley needs more outdoor time and more walks in his carrier but I don't have that kind of energy, most days.

Day Three of sleep training:
I am happy to anounce that for the last three nights Riley has gotten up at most three times and last night only twice! YES, it is working. When he does wake up I pat his butt for two minutes to see if he will go back to sleep without the boob. If he keeps crying then he gets picked up and rocked for a minute more, if that doesn't work then out comes boobie!

It has been exciting to watch him get longer and longer stretches. Last night his first stretch was from 7:45 till 1:30 and it was very exciting. I don't really mind the 1:30 feed now but I am hoping he will soon drop the 3:30/4am one. It really isn't much fun given our day starts at 6 am. However this is much better than what was going on, so for now I am happy.

The next thing we need to work on is longer naps. He is averaging about an hour BUT he wakes up and is still fussy. I wouldn't mind the short naps if he woke up happy BUT he doesn't. So we will be working on that.

I will be sure to update again soon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So BIG!

Riley's 6 month appt was yesterday. He is getting to be a big boy at 18 lbs 12 oz, and that is after having dropped a few oz while sick! He is firmly on the 75th % for weight and height at 27 inches long. I hope he continues to be high in the lenght. R and I are both short and I would love to have a tall son. The genes are there, we both have very tall cousions, so hopefully he got them and they come out. Dr. Wonderful said he is PERFECT! Which made me beam with pride and joy. We still aren't concerned about him not rolling, despite hating tummy time. He sits up very well which Dr W was happy to see. We go back on Firday for another shot, not looking forwad to that.

Riley is also MOBILE now! Nope he isn't crawling, instead he scoots on his but while sitting up. It is so funny to watch, he doesn't go anywhere fast but it is still cute. He scooted to another baby in breastfeeding support group and also to the cat the other day. Then today he scooted over to ME! He was rewarded with a big hug and KISS!

Riley has recived a ton of handme downs, which I LOVE. They are so cute! They were my newphew's clothing and are ALL Gymb.oree! He has a 18 gallon bin of 12-18 and another of 18-24. However they are all winter clothing, he litterally got 4 short sleeve shirts in both bin and two pairs of shorts. This ment I got to go shopping durring Gymbor.ee's great sale last week. I picked up a ton of clothing for just 50 dollars. The most I paid for an outfit was 10$! It was a pair of overalls that I loved! I got home and R didn't like some of it because it was sleeveless and he doens't like sleeveless shirts on little boys. I told him that when i redeam my Gymbu.cks he could come with and pick out the clothing that way he could pick out what he likes.

Durring a diaper change today I was greated by Riley's first baby boner! I was shocked although I shouldn't be. Would it be wierd to write "First Bonner" in his baby book?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

6 Months Old

Dear Riley,

Happy 1/2 Birthday my sweet son. You really are what lights up my world each and every day. I live for those smiles, and laughs and it breaks my heart when you cry and I can't seem to figure out what is wrong. Thankfully the days seemed to be filled with more smiles than frowns more laughing and joy that sorrow and crying.

That doesn't mean the last month hasn't been hard. You have been sick and so have Daddy and I. We are fighting supply issues because of it too which are no fun in good times and pure awfulness when we are sick. You need more food to fight the infection but I don't have it. Thus you are up more at night which means I get less sleep when I really need more sleep so that I can get better and make more milk. It is a visous cycle.

Even with your cold though you are still a happy baby. You light up when Daddy enters the room or comes home from work. You still are happy with being with strangers or non-parent people but you prefer us. You light up the room with your smile and giggle uncontrolably when tickled. I love makeing you laugh and smile. I love the way your head smells and how your long hairs tickle my nose when I kiss your head.

This month you got your first kitty love. Gemma gave you a little kiss on the hand and Bella rubbed up against you. They both happened in the same day no less. We had hoped those girls would come around and they sure have, it helps you can't crawl after them at this point.

Your first overnights went so well. Aunties Shannon and Holly are so good with you and you love them too. It helps that they spoil you rotten! You sleep so well for them you make me jealous!

I am in disbelief of how fast the time has flown by, of how big you are. I can't believe the first year of your life is half way over. My sweet little boy is getting so big. I love you!

Your Mommy,
Ariel

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Second Family

In high school I babysat for a very nice couple down the road, they had twins and then a few years later they had another little girl. For a long time I have considered them a second family, the parents helped me through some really hard times when my parents got divorced. And by being there all the time for their kids they consider me family too.

Tonight we went over so they could all meet Riley. We had a ton of fun and everyone LOVED him. The girls played with him a ton, making for one very overstimulated baby. But it still was a ton of fun.



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Getting Better?

Monday:
It is hard to tell if we are getting better or if I am just more used to the chaos at this point. His cough is worse and it woke him up three times on top of the two times he got up to nurse. His nose is running like crazy but at least now it is draining and he can breath. His eye is leaking green junk, out of not just one but now both eyes. And that is just Riley! R and I are still sick too but given we can take meds and blow our nose we are doing better. I can't tell you how much I wish babies could blow thier nose!?! It sure would make this cold bussnies a lot better to deal with.

In good news, last night we didn't have to drive Riley to sleep once! That is huge given we have had at least one wakeful period and drive a night for the last week plus. He did get up early then this am but not to dreadfully early.

Wendsday: My ears are killing me and now I know why, Riley and I have ear infections. Poor little guy is pulling at his ear so much he makes it bleed. Thankfully his Dr gave him not only an antibiotic but drops to help with the pain, which to be honest I use too. His poop is now orange from meds, it freaked me out the first time but now I am more used to it.

Friday: We both seem much better today. We are still coughing, and have a drippy nose but at least our ears don't hurt anymore. Riley felt so good his morning nap lasted 2 hours! I couldn't belive it when I woke up and he wasn't screaming for me that I freaked and thought he might have died. Thankfully he was fine, but for a moment I sure gave myself a scare.

So we are on the mend now. I really am hopeful this means better sleep for all of us. We are all tired and need our rest.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What a Week!

And by that I mean it was a SUCKY week.

Monday night we had a visit to the ER. Riley's first in fact. He was wheezing and so we threw him into the car and headed to ER. Once there he was no longer wheezing and was smilling at the nurses, he is such a flirt! This meant we were not high priority we spent a few hours there only to have an idiot Dr recomind cough surup (not suposed to have till 2 yrs old) but would not give us and nebulizer for him.

The next morning we went to visit Dr. Wonderful who told us the other Dr was wrong to give us cold medication (duh) and he gave us an inhalor for Riley with a face mask so he can actually use it.

Sleep has been hard to come by and since Riley has to sleep almost vertical that means he sleeps in the car seat, which I then put into his stroller next to our bed. It is a sight to see for sure but it allows me to be right there if he begins to cough and needs help getting the phlem out.

Then R and I caught the cold. For once in our relationship R is sicker than I am. He also sucks at taking care of himself, he will stop eating and not lay down until he is to the point of passing out. This means I have two babies on my hands not just one. But my mom did come over every day this week so that I could nap. She has been a god send. I seriously don't know how people who live far away from family do it. I don't think I would have survived this week without her.

Thankfully this weekend we have nothing going on so resting is on the agenda in a big way.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

That is how I would sum up this weekend.

Friday Riley spent the night with Aunties Holly and Shannon. He slept very well for them, 6 hours straight, leaving mommy a little peturbed and wondering why he won't do that for us. But I also got some much needed rest and so did R, which was the point of the sleep over.

Saturday: Picked up Riley and had a day with his Aunts, R tagged along too which was nice because so often he doesn't. We had breakfast at on of our favorite places and then walked around town. Afterward we went to Bab.iesR.us to pick up a few things: a cup holder for my stroller, a flotation device for Riley for the pool, and a gift for Father's Day.

In the evening we visited R's family. Who proceed to make me crazy, telling me that Riley should be crawling by now, and wanting to know what other tricks he does, um he isn't a dog people! I told them he: sits by himself, interacts with people, smiles, giggles, sucks his thumb (sometimes), loves to bounce in the jumperoo, babbles at us sometimes and is generally a happy baby. They still felt he should be crawlng by now, which I assured them is a completely asinine request of a not even 6 month old. But still they insisted. Uggg. At least Riley's Auntie Sheila had a good time playing with him. R's bro Peter wouldn't even touch him which I think is weird but whatever. Then right before we left R felt the need to have his dad hold Riley. He proceded to bounce Riley hard on his knees, which made Riley cry. That makes Grandpa Pete the first person to make Riley cry and not be able to calm. But what do you exspect Riley doesn't know these people, he is just related to them.

That night was AWFUL sleep wise, and included a two hour wakeful period in the middle. Again how he can sleep so well for his Aunts and so crappy for me I don't get. But more about that in a different post

Sunday: After our bad night I asked R to get up with Riley, he did and then brought him into bed with me, forcing me to get up. I took Riley in the nursery and feed him while R slept an extra HOUR in bed! I was not pleased with him.

Then we did solids for the first time! Those went better than I thought. He protested the spoon being put into his mouth at first, after all his reflux meds taste like poopy salt water, so he just doesn't trust us when we try to put things into his mouth any more. After a few bites he got the hang of it. I took a ton of pictures:




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We had a playdate with some internet friends including Griffin, which was a blast! The weather was crap and I was worried about Riley getting too cold but he did fine. There were lots of new moms to hang out with and it was fun to see all the little babies some of which were only a month behind Riley but still much smaller.

Then after the playdate we went to lunch with A, S, and Griffin as well as A, B and their daughter Katie to lunch. At this point the sleep deprivation got to me and I broke down crying. What a hot mess I looked like I am sure! But they all cheered me up, after all they have been there too. We went back to A's house after lunch, Riley missed his nap BUT at least was in a good mood. He loved playing with his friends. Now that he is sitting up he can keep up with G and K. K and him even shared toys, but G would get mad if K tried to play with his. It was so funny! At one point Riley and Katie were sitting side by side, he used her to balance himself so that he could lean all the way forward to get a toy. YA!





Saturday night I was prepared for another long night, Riley's been coughing so we put the humidifier back in his room. He slept 6 hours and 40 minutes straight! If your counting he hasn't done that for US in 5 weeks. R and I are astatic and we think the humidity is just what he needs to sleep. Shan and Holly's house is nice and moist thanks to them living so close to the ocean, which is why he sleeps so well for them but not us. We now have the humidifier in his room going 24 hours a day and I pray that this continues to work.

Monday: We finally slowed down a little R got up with Riley and let me have some extra rest in bed. He did cereal again and morning routine, which went great. I didn't fall back asleep but I got some restful time in bed, something I am sure I will get less and less of as Riley gets bigger and more active. Then we all went to get R's car tire fixed. We had gotten a flat on Saturday afternoon, and this was our first chance to fix it. It was a good lazy day as a family, something we haven't had in a few weeks. Don't get me wrong I LOVE our busy days with friends but there is something really nice about just hanging out with the ones you love most and no one else.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Solids

This week we are starting solids, yes S-O-L-I-D-S. My little baby is getting so big, and it is way to fast for me. I am not ready for him to start them BUT he is more than ready. He is 5 months and 3 weeks old, has been watching us eat for weeks and is loving everything in his mouth. He shows signs everyday that he wants to eat with us, and has now twice pulled food off my plate in an attempt to feed himself. Plus a solid just might help with both his sleep issues and his reflux. The reflux is reason alone to start a few weeks before 6 months.

I however am not ready at all for him to start. One I am not ready to admit my little baby is growing up. Two I am afraid that it will make breastfeeding even more difficult. After all it was just last weekend he re-learned to breastfeed outside of the house. Three is my supply has always been wonky, it will be fine one day and drop the next. Pumping an extra feed seems to be the only way to keep my supply from dipping and sometimes I have to pump two extra feeds, once in the day and once at night. This has left me with a nice freezer stash that he may never eat, some of which I have already donated.

But parenting isn't about what I am ready for it is about what he needs and is ready for and so we are starting solids. After much himing and hawing and back and forth about which solid to do first R and I have settled on Oatmeal. It isn't the perfect solid, but it is gluten free, and is normally is in the top three first foods our pedi recommends. It also doens't taste as bad as rice cereal, a requirement in our house because one of our parenting rules is that R and I try anything we give to Riley, so both of us know exactly how BAD his reflux meds are and how the Tylenol tastes just like candy.

This weekend also makes perfect sense because R is home and will be here to witness either the failure but hopefully the success of solids. Stay tuned to find out just which way the adventure of solids turns out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sleep Plan

We are loving the new bedtime routine, not that he is sleeping better but at least we are now consistent. It is helping us get a little more sleep, he now does at least one 3-4 hour stretch a night, but given that at his age he should be at least doing 6 hours in a row we are still exhausted. His structured nights mean a more structured day. I now know when Riley will nap during the day and can actually PLAN things with people! We still need to be home for nursing and naps so that gives me an hour to hour and half to do something. It isn't much time but it is something.

His naps are getting a little bit longer. He hasn't had a 30 minute nap in a few days, and has gone 1.5 hours once without needing me to put him back to sleep. It is a slow road but we are working on it.

At some point we are going to sleep train. I am dreading it. But there are a few things we need to do before we throw another wrench at him.
1) Consistent with bedtime and going to sleep routine for at least 3 weeks (one week done already)
2) Get more food into the boy! This means he needs to both nurse better and we have to start solids. I feel uber guilty about starting them before 6 months BUT I am going insane from lack of sleep.
3)Self soothing: Riley needs to learn how to do this. He can get his thumb most of the time (I gave up on him not being a thumb sucker two weeks ago) but when he can't it pisses him off and sometime he hits himself so hard it wakes him up.
4) Better Naps: An hour is good but he NEEDs more than that.

So we are on our way to hopefully having a better sleeper at some point. In the mean time Shannon is taking Riley overnight for us every few weeks. Tonight will be his second night with her. Knowing I get a night off every few weeks is what is keeping me going right now, otherwise I think R might have to have me committed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bouncing Fool

When we started using the Jumperoo so that I could shower everyday I had no idea how much he would love it. He can spend up to 45 minutes in it sometimes without so much as a whimper to be picked up. That is enough time for a shower and a cup of coffee! However we are very careful to limit his time in it too, because it does increase the pressure on his hip joints. To reduce that pressure I have started setting it even lower to the ground so that his knees stay bent all the time. It is better for his hips and he doesn't seem to mind it. Plus it reduces my mommy guilt for having him in a contraption. Here are some cute pictures of my bouncing fool:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Good Morning!

We have been struggling with our nights for a while now. Riley was getting up sometimes every hour and it was killing me and R. Our whole life was taking a back seat because all we could manage to do was make sure we were feed, clothed and alive enough to make it though one more night.

However, Thursday Shan came over and helped us iron out a better routine for both the day and the night. So far it is going well. It helps that breastfeeding is going better too. Actually breastfeeding is going much better. He has now taken a few meals, good size meals even at other people's houses. I even got to have a conversation during one of them. We still struggle with brightly lit places, restaurants, and any where loud. But I will take what I can bet because I was starting to feel like a shut in. A quick run to the store was about all I could do with him. Unless it was our breastfeeding support group, I always made room in the day for that because it was what kept me sane and breastfeeding, that and him not taking a bottle.

While nights are better in the mornings we are still struggling with whether to swaddle or not. He has to be swaddled at night but at about 6am he wakes up, eats and then he goes back to sleep for about and hour. Twice now he has broken out of the swaddle me, but I have been hesitant to give it up. Today he broke out of it again and then went right to sleep and I now know it is time to give it up, at least for that hour nap/finish off the night sleep. I just tried to put him down for a nap not swaddled: FAILURE!

Overall life seems to be improving. Not that it was awful a week ago, just that it wasn't much of a life.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Birthday Weekend

Saturday was my BIRTHDAY! I had a great day. R got up early with Riley who decided 6:30 was a good time to start the day. They made me pancakes for breakfast which is our normal Saturday morning meal but they were extra yummy for some reason. Our plan for the day was lunch with friends, and we had a GREAT time. Shan and Holy brought me my favorite cake, chocolate with raspberry filling, from my favorite bakery which is about an hour away from me, they are great friends. Then we met up with A, S and Griffin as well as Sally and Landon. My mom came to lunch too, she may be my mom but she is also one of my closest friends. It was blistering hot at lunch but we managed to have a good time. Riley melted down and so my mom took him back to my house early. It was so sweet of her because he really needed the nap.

That night we dropped Riley off at Shan's house, while we had dinner and then she kept him overnight! People seem to have strong reactions about me leaving my baby overnight with someone else, they either feel it is too soon or that it is a wonderful thing. My opinion: OMG it was the best gift EVER (other than my son). He did great and so did I. I knew Shan would take the best care of him, he adores her and she loves him too. He took the bottle from her with little issue, and slept very well. I only called once at the beginning of the night and texted her one time too.

Sunday R and I got us and went to get Riley, who lit up as soon as he saw us. I didn't realize how much I missed him till I saw him. We had a yummy breakfast as a family at a place near the city and then headed about 1.5 hours away to R's Aunt's house, where there was a family get together. We had a good time, and everyone loved seeing Riley. He was a very good baby given the heat and that he had never met most the people there. He tolarated being passed around as long as he came back to me or R inbetween.

Overall it was a wonderful weekend. I spent it with those I love most in the world, my friends and family. What more could a girl ask for?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What the hell Riley?

Last night it took a car ride after two hours of trying to get him to fall asleep. Then he was up at 2 am and 4 am then up for the day at 6 am.

He went down for his am nap at 8:15 it is almost 10:30 and he is still asleep.

I am thankful for the long nap but wondering if I should wake him. After all I don't want him to sleep all day and then not sleep tonight.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Autism

A month ago R, and I took a class about Autism. My degree is in Child Development and I have taken a few classes which talked about Autism and therapies involved in treating Autism but NOTHING in my educational background ever talked about prevention or causes beyond the vaccination debate.

I am NOT going to talk about the vaccination debate in this post. If you want learn more about that please read Dr. Sear's Vaccination Book. It is the best well rounded book I have found to date on the subject.

Back to the class I took. Our class was taught by a local pediatrician who specializes in environmental factors of Autism. Recently there has been a lot of looking into different environmental factors including Mercury and other chemicals. One interesting fact is that Autism and Mercury poising have 33 common traits. Thus some parents of children suffering from Autism have chosen to do mercury poisoning treatment and have found positive results. We also talked about APA therapy, exposure to heavy metals, chemicals in the home, and bio-medical treatments.

In the end I felt she had some good tips for parents who are concerned about Autism.

1) Eat Healthy: stay away from high mercury fish and fruits and vegetables that absorb the most pesticides. If you can eat organic fruits and veggies, the "dirty dozen" being the most important. For a list of "the dirty dozen" (is the fruits and veggies that contain the most pesticides) go to foodnews.org

2) Be careful of the kinds of chemicals you use in the home. This is true for cleaning AND the body products you use on the baby and you (especially if you breastfeed). Go to www.cosmeticsdatabase.com and search out the products in your home. Then replace them with less toxic versions, sometimes it is as simple as just changing the scent of your deodorant! Be especially careful about the bath product you use on your baby!

3) Buy and use a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter with Carbon filter. You would be surprised what is lurking in your water, including jet fuel in some areas!

4) Look at your risk factors for Autism. Does a parent sibling or cousin have Autism or a Autism spectrum related disorder including but not limited to ADHD? If so read Dr. Sears Vaccination book and think about delaying vaccinations.

Physical Therapy

Riley had his first PT visit yesterday. He was such a happy baby for Heidi (the PT) and she kept commenting on how well he was doing. It certainly made me feel proud to have her cooing over him. Right away he showed her how he tries to grasp for objects, and most of the time gets it. Then she looked at his head and measured it. She noted that his left ear is slightly forward, which I knew already. Then she examened his hips and his arms. His hips looked great but his right sholder is tense, most likely because he was breech and thus scrunched a little awuardly in those last few weeks.

Then we talked about my pregnancy and his birth, and as soon as I mentioned that he was born at 36 weeks she said, "So he is actually 4 months not 5 then". I breathed a big sigh of relief that I wasn't going to have to argue developmental age with her! YA for well educated people! While most people would say that 36 weeks isn't a premie it is in fact pre-term. Since development starts at conception and not birth, being born a month early is in fact a big deal when you are still counting a child's age in months, it won't be such a big deal when he is 4 or 5 but for now it is impacting where he is developmentally.

She said that for a four month old he is developmentally on track and even slightly ahead. He sits better than many 5 months olds that she sees and only does the taco fold when he get tired. He knows his center and crosses the midline well, I can thank all the baby wearing and baby yoga for that. He is reaching and grasping at a 4 month level, but is slightly behind in rolling. She said this is because of the reflux (not enough tummy time) and because of his tight shoulders and neck.

She gave me a list of things to do with him:
- Put him on his tummy every time I go to put him down EXCEPT for the 30 minutes after he eats and when he is sleeping.
- A underarm/shoulder stretch that looks like a salsa move to me
- And two different things for his neck: one being a stretch and the other is just getting him to look in one direction more than the other.

Things she wants me to keep doing: Baby Wearing! Baby Yoga, and the Bumbo seat. I was thrilled for her to okay the bumbo seat because I know it keeps the pressure off his head, which will help correct his flat spot and his forward left ear.

In the long term she said the only thing she is concerned about is that forward ear. The inner ear is what helps us balance and having that slightly forward can and will negitivley impact his development in the future. It can delay the balance needed for walking and other gross motor skills. So anything that keeps him off his back or strengthens his neck mucles is a good thing, including the bumbo and baby wearing.

I have four weeks to work everyday on the things she asked and then she will see him again. She seemed really positive that he will be caught up with his peers by a year if not sooner. Over all it was a great visit and I am so glad I pushed for the referral.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Breastfeeding Woes

Given the lack of sleep I got last night my mom came over today to help with Riley. She cleaned house and watched him while I took a good two hour nap. When i woke it was time to feed and Riley was giving all the cues that he was ready to eat. But he wouldn't eat. He took maybe 1/2 an ounces and that was it. He screamed and thrashed and yelled and cried until I cried and gave up.

Breastfeeding isn't supposed to be this hard, not this late in the game. He should be eating well not .5- 3 ounces at a time but 5-6 ounces at a time. It shouldn't make me want to cry and give me panic attacks thinking about his next feeding. And so it is with a heavy heart that I anounce our plan to wean him from breastfeeding.

The Plan:

May 16th My BFF Shan is taking him overnight, the hope is he will take a few bottles for her and thus be more receptive to eating for R that night from a bottle. We will then give him 1-2 bottles of pumped mommy milk every day. If he takes to the bottle we will then introduce formula a little at a time. I will still pump but after June 7th I will slowly cut out one pump or breastfeeding session every three to five days till he is just on formula.

I am not happy about any of this. I want to breastfeed but it is not working any longer and I find it more important to enjoy my son than breast feed him. Of course if breastfeeding gets better we will most likely continue to breastfeed for longer but either way he needs to take a bottle. I simply can't do this any more.

Dear Riley

Dear Riley,

You are five months old today. I can't believe how fast the time has flown by and how big you have gotten.

You are now grasping things quite well and transferring them from hand to hand. In our breastfeeding support group you played with your rattle for about 5 minutes and I just sat there watching you beaming with pride. After all just a few weeks ago that wouldn't have happened.

You are also sitting up, and while you can't do it for very long you have made amazing improvements in this ability with just a few days practice. I love watching you sit and can't wait for your bald spot to get hair now that you are sitting more and more. Even though you can sit on your own, you still love the bumbo seat for when you get tierd or have just eaten.

I wish I had better news about breastfeeding and sleep. For the last three weeks both have been crappy. We are still breastfeeding but I feel fairly defeated about it. I want to make it to 6 months so today we aren't quitting, but I don't think we will be making it to a year. I am saddened by this but also relived that I will soon be getting my body back. When you nurse well then I love breastfeeding but sadly we are averaging about one good feeding a day and that is killing me. Of course because you aren't eating well you aren't sleeping well. We seem to get one good night of sleep out of you and then 4 nights of hell. Last night you were up over 5 times. I actually lost count because it got to the point where daddy was sleeping on the floor of your room. We are tired so if tonight you could sleep well we would be thankful. I know that the moment you start sleeping better I will decide to keep breastfeeding, I really do love it and I know it is the best nutrition for you.

It is so much fun to watch you interact with others these days. Besides daddy and me your next favorite person is Grandma Dallas. You light up for her and she loves you so much. You do however give her a hard time when you are hungry or sleepy. I don't understand why though, she does everything just like I do but you still want me or daddy. Grandma Dallas has been trying to get you to take a bottle. You took an ounce the other day and we were so happy. I really hope you learn to take full feedings from the bottle soon, it would really help us out with feeling better about breastfeeding.

Some of the things we are doing together during the day include our breastfeeding support group, baby yoga and other things at Day One, and the park. You love to watch the big kids play and get so excited to see them. Daddy says you would jump off our laps and run after them if you could.

Your favorite time of day is when daddy gets home. You just light up for him. Recently he has been talking to you about Star Wars. He wants you to be a geek just like him. He is great about diaper changes, giving you your meds and playing with you but he doesn't like bath time, which is funny because you love the bath. He reads to you, does baby yoga to help you poop and sings songs to you, and you just beam back at him.

We love you so much Riley and are thankful for every day. You are a wonderful little boy and we consider ourselves luck to have been chosen to be your mommy and daddy.

Love Always,
Your Mommy

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Look who is Sitting Up!

I am so proud of my little guy, yesterday he sat up unassisted for quite some time before falling over. I even got pictures and video of it. I am extra excited because he is going to be seen for a grasping issue next week with the PT and I was afraid he was falling even farther behind his peers because he has yet to roll over too. It makes me feel better to know he isn't falling too far behind his peers.





And here it is on video:
video

Monday, May 4, 2009

So that is what is going on!

We figured it out!

Riley's wakeful periods at night and him wanting to be feed a lot at night are.... NORMAL! I finally found someone who knew what she was talking about. Kellymom has a great article that explains how 4 months olds are easily distract able and thus don't feed well during the day (yep that is Riley) and thus they make up for it at night, when it is dark and they are swaddled with less to look at. This is EXACTLY what Riley has been doing! She goes on to explain that CIO isn't the answer because that will make my milk dry up. Ya! One more reason not to CIO! I knew there had to be a reasonable explanation for his recent behavior.

The bad news is that this doesn't normally resolve itself till the child it 6 months old. I am really hopeful it resolves before that but if not just knowing that this is normal and that CIO isn't the answer has given me more resolve to get through this. That and the fact that my wonderful friend Shannon has offered to take him overnight this Friday IF she doesn't go up to visit her mom. Can you all think good thoughts for me that she skips the visit with her mom and takes Riley for the night instead?

In reflux news the new meds while awful in taste are working better than the old ones.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

He has my smile

So often I hear "he looks just like his daddy" when it comes to Riley's facial features and I 100% agree. Riley could be R's clone, but sometimes I do get a little sick of hearing it. The other day I was looking through photos and noticed Riley has my smile. I love my smile! I tend to smile with my whole face when I am truely happy and so does Riley.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dylan You are In our HEARTS

A nestie friend has a little boy who s sick. It is his heart and he is going to need a pacemaker put in. For support a bunch of us took pictures of our kids, our bellies or pets with a heart. Then we put them into a video, it came out great and brought tears to my eyes. Here is the link:
http://vimeo.com/4405916

Go watch it and then remeber to put Dylan in your heart too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bye Bye Sleep

WARNING: If you are in a bad place right know, and you know what I mean by that, then I HIGHLY suggest you don't read any further. I am about to complain BIG TIME.

I knew going into motherhood that what would be the hardest on me would be the lack of sleep. I just don't do well without 8 hours of sleep a night. If I pulled and all nighter in high school or college I made sure I could sleep extra long the next night. People who can get by on just 6 hours of sleep amaze me, not that I want to be like them, but sometimes being able to function on 6 hours of sleep would be nice.

For the last 3 weeks Riley has been regressing in his sleeping patterns. IT SUCKS. Yes he has had some good nights which I am so thankful for but many nights he is imposable to put down unless fully asleep and then he wakes 2 hours later. It has been very very hard on both R and I, but particularly me since he wants to nurse back to sleep.

I am exhausted, tired, grumpy and worst of all my relationship with R is suffering. I am thankful he is understanding and so helpful at night but lets be honest how much of my bitching can the man take? I am sure he is at his limit.

I want so badly to have a full night sleep or omg dare I say it 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. That would be blissful!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Prayers for a friend please

Warning: PL mentioned

A blogger friend lost her little girl this weekend. I am beyond heart broken for her. Please pray for her and her family. Thank you.

http://elusivebfp.blogspot.com/
Ten thirty is the time Riley went to sleep last night. We some how missed giving him the upped dosage of his reflux meds at noon and paid for it all afternoon including a 35 minute nap where I held him. I don't normally do things like that but when your son cries from the acid burning his throat when put down and yet really, really needs his nap, well then as a mom you do what you got to do right? We still started bed time at his normal 8pm we normally start the routine then and he is in bed between 8:30 and 9 although we are trying to start getting him to bed earlier. We did our whole routine but again because of the reflux he screamed each time he was put down. This went on till 10:05 when I told R we were going for a car ride. So for the first time in a long time we drove him to sleep, and I am glad we did! He slept from 10:30 (that is when we got home no idea when he nodded off in the car) till 7:30. Do the math...I'll wait.....no I mean it do the math........ done yet?...... that is NINE, yes count them NINE hours of sleep in a row. Can we say HAPPY DANCE!?! I checked on him many times in the night and each time he was fine. I know they don't suggest letting an infant sleep in the car seat but it was that or let him cry. R and I had no idea what else to do. We both needed some sleep and so did he.

Today we are being EXTRA good about giving the meds. We made sure he got them this am on time and stayed upright for 30 minutes afterward. It is hard sure but we learned last night that if we screw it up we pay for it at night. So from now on we will be very careful about making sure he gets all his reflux meds!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

One year ago today...

I tested at 8am in the morning to only see one line. I cried, went for my beta and to my surprise it was POSITIVE.

I am overfilled with emotions about today, and I can't quite seem to put them into words. I am immensely grateful for everyday with my son, for his smiles and laughs. He is everything I dreamed and wished for, he is my miracle.

To my readers thank you for all your support. Thank you for lifting me up when I was down and for just being here, your support has gotten me through some rough times. For those still wishing hoping and praying for their miracle, please know I pray for you often that you find your way to Motherhood lane.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Really really bad night

We put Riley down at 8pm and he was up FIVE times! That was the worst night sleep since he was 3 weeks old. He was up at 9pm, 11:30, 1:30 3:30 and 5am then got up for the day at 8. Oh and we followed the stupid lady from the Sleep Class advice all day yesterday. We will NOT be following her advice EVER again! I guess I am eating my words about the sleep class being worth it.

After last night I promise to be thankful for his once a night wakings even if they continue till he is a year old.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sleep Class

I went to a sleep class at a local shop that does all kinds of classes. It was a very good class and I really liked that she didn't endorse one method of sleep ideology over another instead she focused on steps to get your little one ready to sleep through the night. Things like making sure the environment was right, they are well fed during the day, they have the ability to but themselves back to sleep, are good nappers and have a good schedule too. Riley has the environment down pat, his room is dark, it is the right temp, it has a white noise machine which we now run when ever he is asleep. But he isn't a good napper and we lack a schedule. So right now I am working on those things. In order to do that she suggests staying at home for naps for 3 weeks. Which means I can only be gone for about 2 hours, that is barely enough time to run to the store for us some days! But I NEED more sleep and I agree with her that if he is getting the naps he needs he will sleep better at night. So tomorrow is our first day home following our new schedule. 3 weeks is a LONG time please pray I don't go crazy.

Parenting By Gut

When a woman becomes pg these days she almost always picks up a copy of some parenting book along with her pg book, and if you are like me then you picked up 10 different parenting books everything from Dr. Sears to Baby Wise and from Ferber, to No cry sleep solution as well as everything in between. Everyone has their favorites, where I live Dr Sears and his attachment style parenting are VERY popular. I agree with LOTs of thing Dr. Sears says BUT I don't and won't co-sleep nor will I wear my baby while he naps. All the time people talk about parenting styles and I have a really hard time fitting myself into any one category.

We baby wear but we don't bed share and to be honest I am admittedly against bed sharing for my family. I believe babies have a schedule and that it is best to keep a child on a schedule but I think Baby Wise is dangerous and we feed on demand even when that is every hour. I really like Baby Whisperer, and her EASY pattern as well as her "start as you mean to go on" but I have been known to breastfeed to sleep frequently.

R and I just don't FIT into a style. And so I would like to create my own. It is called "Parenting by Gut". It recognizes what works for one family may feel very wrong for another and tells parents to listen to their gut. If the baby is fussing and you feel in your gut they will be back to sleep in a second then don't jump up to rescue them, but if you think this fuss is about to lead to a scream then by all means go get your kid if that is what you want to do. In PbG we try not to judge others for parenting choices, if CIO worked for a mom and her child and they are happy and thriving then that is fine. But that may not work for every family. Just because I baby wear doesn't mean you need to nor do I need to bed share because that is what works for your family.

The biggest rule in PbG is about giving advice, all advice must start with the saying "What worked for us was...." rather than "You should try....." The second rule I have already mentioned, it is not judging others for their choices. I am guilty of judging others a time or two but over all I really try hard not to. In PbG we do our best not to judge others even when their choices turn our tummy into knots. Example I find two piece bikini swimsuits highly inappropriate for infants but others use them because they are easy for diaper changes or for other reasons. And while I will never put my infant in a bikini I don't judge those who do. And rule number three, listen to your gut! If something doesn't feel like it is the right fit for your family then don't do it, it is that simple. I think the world would be so much better place if we all lost the titles of parenting and all just PbG.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No we won't CIO

Riley is not sleeping well at nights, he seems to like getting us up twice a night. Even on nights he sleeps 6 hours for the first stretch he will be up 2 hours later. He doesn't NEED the food but he wants it for comfort sake. This last week as been particularly hard with his night terror, breastfeeding revolt and then shots, so we aren't ready to sleep train yet, but I am thinking if by May he isn't STTN regularly then we will be sleep training. However, we will not be CIO. And why is CIO the first thing everyone suggests to us when we mention the lack of sleep? For us CIO will be the last step, and one we will take only if we have to. WHY?

I have listened to babies CIO, sat at the door to thier bedroom and wailed myself with them. It was very hard to do even as a nanny and now as a mom I can't imagine how hard it would be.

Secondly, when you CIO you need to be 100% commited to it because noting is more confusing to a child than getting picked up sometimes for crying and not othertimes. We do not have this level of commitment, yet.

Third, and possibly the biggest reason CIO isn't for us. I read a article about what must go through an infants mind when it CIO for the first time. I got about three sentences in before I had to put the article down and go hug my son.

We are going to try some other things first, like a sound machine, and then letting R go in and comfort him with a paci and seeing if that puts Riley back to sleep before offering the breast. I am also hoping to get more tricks at a sleep class I am taking next week. Hopefully by May we won't need to sleep train but if we do then at least we will have an idea of the path that might work best for our family and our parenting style.

In the mean time if you happen to talk to us and we look sleep deprived please don't tell us we can always CIO. It isn't a path we are willing to take at the moment.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

STTN!

We did 8 hours last night WOOOO HOOOO!

And then today after getting our referral to the PT he grasped the hanger out of my hand brought it to mouth, switched hands and then after another minute switched back. He literally went from not having a skill to mastering it over night! THAT'S MY BOY! So now we have grasping/reaching and cross lateral movement under our belt! AWESOME

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4 Month Check Up

Today was Riley's well baby visit for his four month check up. It went well given the nursing strike that happened today but I have already spoken about that. He is growing well, and developing on track EXCEPT he isn't grasping yet or rolling over. I wasn't worried about the rolling over but the grasping concerned me. Dr Wonderful "played" with Riley trying to get him to grasp for the pen, the light and a few other things. It took him a considerable amount of time to even try and reach the object. He never got it on his own, but when given the object he brought both hands to mid line and put it right in his mouth. Exactly what he should be doing on his own. Dr Wonderful said we could do some PT if I wanted "yes please!" was my response. I think he is used to parents who when hearing their child is behind freak a little, but I know that the earlier a issue is caught the easier it is to fix. I think R was taken aback by Dr. Wonderful suggesting PT, the whole conversation he kept telling the Dr that he thought he was reaching/grasping a lot. We haven't talked about how he feels about Riley needing PT but I am sure it will drag up some emotions. The rolling over is no big deal he has a another 3 months to do that and I am not concerned. Riley is already scooting when on his back. So it isn't like he doesn't move, he just doesn't roll yet.

As for growth Riley is right on track he is 87% for weight, 54 for head and 48th for length. If you remember from my BIG u/s the tech commented on his "long legs" well today the nurse commented "he is all torso". Funny how things change.

We also talked about Riley's flat head. I am a BIG fan of the helmet. Our culture is too centered around looks and I think it is more harmful than good to let them simply grow out of the flatness. This only applies to kids who have a noticeable flatness AND as always is JMHO so please not rude comments from the peanut gallery.

We did skip vaccinations today. Dr. Wonderful said not to do them since the nursing thing could be him getting sick. It is weird how the planets keep aligning to keep us from getting them. I am starting to think the universe is trying to tell us something....

Let me leave you with a pic of Riley with Dr. Wonderful:

In honnor of TAX day

In a kingdom far away lived a prince named RILEY. Everyone in the kingdom loves Prince Riley because he is even knelled and predicable as well as a happy go lucky kinda guy. Today however the kingdom was upset, it was tax day. In revolt people all over the kingdom threw tea bags in the ocean, but prince Riley was to little to throw tea bags or chant or participate in a protest, so instead he organized his own hunger strike. From 10:30 am on he refused to nurse from the breast, and refused the bottle. He would only drink water from a cup to insure he didn't get too dehydrated. His parents worried about his health, they spoke to the Dr who told them hopefully he would eat soon and that as long as he drank some water he wouldn't get too worried. Other people in the kingdom worried as well and begged Prince Riley to eat but he would not nurse. Finally at 5pm after a little nap Prince Riley decided that the nursing strike should be over and took a nice long boobie feeding.

Bad Night Good Day

Bad Night:

Monday night Riley went to bed at 9pm his normal bedtime, we thought he was fine until 1am when he woke up crying to eat. This is becoming more regular, that he wants to eat around 1am instead of 3 or 4. I feed him and then back to bed he went. 45 minutes later, blood curdling screams come from his room. R rushes to calm him but after 10 minutes he is still screaming. He sounds pissed rather than hungry but I feed him anyway. He eats but the moment he pulls off is screaming again. We try to wake him but can't, we undress him, talk to him turn on the lights, but nothing works. We are both panicked there isn't much worse than a baby screaming (who doesn't normally scream) for no reason, I remind R that at least we know he is breathing. Of course then the little guy choses that moment t choke and not breathe.

He has now been screaming for 40 minutes and I am ready to call 911 but call my mom instead who heads on over. By the time she gets here we have Riley awake and semi calm, but he screams if you change his position or try to put him down. None of us can figure out what is wrong with him. I decide that if he won't sleep I will wear him while mom and I try to figure out what happened. He begins to fall asleep but then wakes up.

I soon realize he is having gas issues. We do a TON of Baby Yoga to get the air out, by now it is past 3 am so once Riley calms down I swaddle and feed him which promptly puts him to sleep.

Ahhhh sleep! Thank you!

Good Day:

Of course the day of our bad night we had big plans: the ZOO! Amber over at Kids for Kid, was picking us up for a fun day at the zoo for her multiples group. The zoo was crazy since it was spring break but we had a lot of fun any ways. It was really great hanging out with babies Riley's age. Amber's twins were born at 36 weeks too and are only two weeks younger than Riley making them developmentally in the same range. Riley loved to hang with his friends all day and I loved having someone who understood the demands of motherhood with a 4 month old. Amber and I found out we have a ton in common from our crazy sisters to our disabled moms to our educational backgrounds, her's is in education mine is in child development.

Here are Riley and I at the ZOO:



And our three boys hanging out