Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tye's first bed

This weekend, we did what most expectant couples do before their child is born.  We put together her bedroom. 

Because Tye has been sleeping with us, she hasn’t ever had a crib.  Her changing pad is on Tyler’s dresser, and her clothes are in a dresser in what we call the “second bedroom.”  The second bedroom also had a queen sized bed for guests, and it’s slept quite a few people since Tye was born. 

Driving Tyler’s parents huge SUV, we made a trip Sunday to Ikea.  We picked out a bookshelf for the collection of books we’ve acquired between gifts for Tye and my years teaching.  We also chose a loveseat with a pull-out bed so we can still host guests.   To tie together the blue loveseat and the apple green d├ęcor we’ve been planning since before Tye was born, we found a brightly-colored carpet that will soften the hardwood floor nicely.  Lastly, we picked out a mattress sized to fit a crib or toddler bed.

I love having Tye sleep with us.  I feel infinitely better knowing she is safe beside me through the night, and know I get more sleep because I don’t have to get out of bed each time she wakes up, and that doesn't even begin to factor in how much I love cuddling with her.  For now, I’m not ready to give up bedsharing.  However, Tye is becoming a much more active sleeper.  She crawls on top of me and around the bed in her sleep and crawls immediately upon waking, usually towards Ziggy at the foot of the bed.  

Until recently, Tye was also napping in our bed as well as sleeping there each evening before I turned in.  Putting a child to sleep in an adult bed without the adult present is a major co-sleeping no-no for safety reasons.  Because I’ve had the video monitor on which I can watch Tye and know immediately when she wakes, we survived, but we reached a point where I’m not comfortable with it any longer.

Tye is ten and a half months old.  I don’t feel like we need a crib for her at this point, especially since we’re still mostly bedsharing, but I’m also afraid she would roll out of a toddler bed.  So, for now, we have a crib mattress on the floor, and I love it.  I can easily lay down next to Tye as she falls asleep, and Tye can crawl into and out of her bed safely.   She will nap in her new bed each day and start out each night there.  The first time she wakes up after I’m in bed, we’ll move her to our bed for the rest of the night (at least that's the plan- last night, I didn't want to face the big bed alone and waited until Tye woke up to go to bed at all!).
Our second bedroom is now officially Tye’s room.  It’s another safe place for her to play with her toys- she spent almost 45 minutes this morning playing by herself (of course, I watched on the video monitor as I made lunch).  We have a perfect little corner set up with the rocking chair Tye’s grandma and great grandma, Gram and Grammy, gave her, right next to the book shelf.  It creates a beautiful little place to read.  The lowest shelf holds baskets of Tye’s stuffed animals, easily accessible from the plush carpeted play space or her cuddly bed.  Having a bedroom for Tye makes our home feel more like it belongs to a family- our family.

As we walked around Ikea through the busy Sunday crowd, I saw quite a few women with pregnant bellies walking alongside their significant others.  Part of me thought, Wow, they’re really ahead of the game, already putting together a nursery.  But knowing what I do about our family, our parenting style, and our space, most of me thought, I’m so glad we waited.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bucktown Baby Dress, Revisited

Last winter, Tye received a stunningly gorgeous hand knit dress from the mother of one of my former students.  A photo shoot ensued.  Now that the dress fits her even better- and so does the coordinating Hanna Andersson outfit sent along with the dress- I decided it was time for another round of pictures.  Oh, the cuteness!
 Walking along the coffee table
  Playing with Ziggy in her favorite hiding spot in the bookshelves
   Getting in her squats for the day

  Here's what I think of the bright flash! Ptttttttthh!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mama's Little Helper

She's never too young to put to work, in my opinion.  Here is Tye helping me around the house...

... loading the dishwasher
... fetching the laundry detergent
... sorting the recycling
... mixing ingredients
... ensuring floor cleanliness
... dusting the bookshelves (a favorite)
.... conducting pantry inventory assessments
.... and testing the weight limit for newly assembled household items (you know, in case we ever grill 20 pounds of meat.  Not out of the realm of possibility in my family...)
Just don't tell her about allowances yet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tye at the Farm

Tye is finally feeling better, and today we celebrated with a trip with our nature group to Wagner Farm in the gorgeous warm fall weather.  When she saw the animals, Tye started her excited quick breaths and extremity waving, though I'm not sure who enjoyed being out more- her or me.  
After exploring the farm and museum and a long, leisurely picnic that included a nap for Tye, we picked out some pumpkins and gourds. 

And Tye sampled the wood chips.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Favorite- Moments of the Week

It's been one of those weeks for the past two weeks now.  Tye went straight from teething to worse teething to now having a full-blown cold.  And yet, there were some great moments, too, and I'd rather focus on those than, say, being sprayed in the face by green snot when Tye sneezed this morning or sleeping sitting up wearing the Ergo last night so she could breathe.  So here are the highlights of our week:

  • Dinner with Tye at Whole Foods Monday evening.  It was like a date, just her and myself, singing along to Bob Dylan over the loudspeakers.
  • Curried squash soup made from scratch.  I ate the whole pot in 3 days.  Yum.
  • At Tuesday morning's AP Parenting meeting, watching Tye spend the vast majority of the meeting crawling around on the floor with the other kids, pulling herself up onto the toy box to find new toys, and sharing with friends.  She's truly one of the big kids at our meetings now.
  • Realizing that no, Tye didn't break my laptop- she just pushed the brightness button and turned the screen off.  Whew!
  • Watching Tye chase after the farm dog at the orchard after a morning of apple picking.  She took off army-style to chase his wagging tail all around the yard and couldn't get enough of his long, red, soft fur.  
  • Pushing Tye in the swing at the park and hearing her giggle with every back-and-forth.
  • Hearing Ines tell me, "She's not going to get cancer from one dose of Tylenol" the morning after giving Tye a dose to ease her teething pain after two straight hours of non-stop full-out crying the night before.  Thanks, Ines, for keeping life in perspective.
  • Teaching Tye to clap to Pat-A-Cake yesterday.
  • This morning's mocha from the local bakery during our walk.  Tye was calm walking in the carrier, Mico waited patiently tied to the tree outside while I ordered, and I got my dose of coffee and feel like myself- not my sleep-deprived twin.  While I'm not proud of turning to caffeine, even on a rough morning, I know I'll be proud of what I accomplish thanks to the cup.  Like this post.
See, it was a good week, after all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To Tye, at 10 months

Dear Tye,
Ten months.  I've now known you longer as a human, your own person, than I knew you within my belly.  Every day, I love getting to know you better.  Last night, you and I ate dinner at Whole Foods together while we were there shopping.  It felt like a date, just you and me, spending our time together.  We shared food, laughed at each other, and even sang along to the music a little bit.  You are quite a fun girl, little lady.

I love watching you express your preferences now, whether it is for food, toys, people, or activities.  You are trying hard to communicate with us, and for the most part, you do quite well for yourself even though you only have a few well-used words- right now, "da da," "ma ma," and "na na" for nursing.  You're imitating sounds well, though, and I know it won't be long before you're saying Ziggy and Mico and a whole collection of words.  

You're just so much fun right now.  I love playing with you, making you laugh, watching you try to make me laugh (it works every time).  Your fascination with the world is inspiring- I am amazed that you can empty the same drawers every day without losing enthusiasm for the game.  You are much more of an active companion now, which makes everything more fun, whether it's running errands or walking Mico.  

You have taught me a whole new level of happiness.  Thank you for the joy you bring to my life each day, Tye.  I love, love, love, love you.

Tye this morning at the fountain at Wicker Park, where she could have watched the water for hours.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Who needs sleep?

After six consecutive nights of almost no sleep, I felt like I was approaching the end of my rope yesterday.  The lack of sleep was hard on Tye, hard on me, and hard on anyone who had to deal with me (sorry, Tyler).  I had already cut dairy out of Tye's diet again (fearing her body may, like her father's, not react kindly to it), and I was considering an expensive trip to the non-insurance-accepting naturopathic doctor to see if she might be able to diagnose an issue.  For several hours Saturday night, Tye tried to sleep on my chest.  She didn't want to nurse to sleep as she usually does, so I patted and shushed her and sang to her as she fitfully drifted off.  When asleep, she would begin to whimper, and eventually the crying woke her if I didn't manage to shush her back to sleep.  It was a pitiful, heartbreaking pattern.

Yesterday, Tyler, Tye, Mico and I were walking around the Renegade Craft Fair with Ines and Marquise, checking out the locally handmade Tshirts, jewelry, toys, soap, sweaters, and scarves, among other things.  This craft fair is like Etsy in real life, a craft fair on steroids with a strong hipster leaning.  Of course, I love it!  

After Tye woke from her nap in the Ergo carrier, she leaned backwards to stretch and instantly, I understood what had been bothering Tye for the past week.  I caught a glimpse of her upper gums, which were swollen and purple with two thin white lines along the ridge.  That's it- Tye's upper teeth have been pushing through this week.  

Last night before bed, I gave Tye a few doses of homeopathic teething remedy and we put on her amber teething necklace (which children are not supposed to wear to sleep, but because Tye sleeps right next to me, we sometimes do).  The night was so much better.  She still woke crying more often than normal ("normal" excluding the previous 6 nights), but we had one three hour stretch of beautiful, uninterrupted sleep.  It was heavenly.  At one point in the night, I watched Tye as she fell asleep after nursing.  She whimpered a bit, then raised her arm to her mouth in a slow, gentle movement, touching her upper lip before her arm fell back to her side.  The poor girl.

Today, Tye's upper left front tooth has partially broken through the gums.  She's wearing her teething necklace and must be feeling better- she slept for over two hours this morning and is an hour into her second nap now.  While it's hard not to beat myself up for not realizing what was going on sooner, I'm mostly thankful that we have an explanation for Tye's discomfort and thankful that the natural remedies we're using seem to be effective.  She certainly looks happier today!  Just think- soon that grin will be a whole lot toothier...

Happy Birthday, Marquise!

On Saturday, we helped celebrate Marquise's first birthday.  
Of course, the gift boxes were a major hit with all the kids.  

Happy Birthday, Marquise!  Love, Tye and Em

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alternative Birth Center Benefits

A new study by The Cochrane Library proves that women delivering babies in alternative birthing centers are less likely to need medical interventions than women delivering in a standard hospital setting.  The study used 10,000 participants randomly assigned to either an alternative birth or standard hospital setting, so results are not skewed by the type of woman who chooses to use an alternative birthing center.  With that in mind, the statistics are impressive.  A woman delivering in an alternative birthing center is 18% less likely to require an epidural, 22% less likely to need oxytocin to speed delivery, and 17% less likely to require an episiotomy, and the birth is 11% less likely to result in Caesarean.

Tye was born in an alternative birthing center,  and our experience there was very positive.  With a well-rounded study to prove that alternative birthing centers reduce medical interventions during a birth, hopefully hospitals and insurance companies will see a financial benefit to providing the woman with a more comfortable, less medical setting and make the centers available to more women.  

What about you?  Do you have an alternative birth center nearby?  Were you surprised by the results of the study?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nature Babe

Two like-minded moms and I started a local nature group with the intention of exposing our urban children to nature.  Chicago has plenty of opportunities to explore nature- it just takes a conscious effort to find them.  We meet at least once a week and have been to some amazing places, like the bird and butterfly sanctuary at Montrose Beach and the lagoon and prairie river at Humboldt Park.  Today, we walked through Jackson Park, home of the 1893 World's Fair and now a refuge for migratory birds with a Japanese garden.

Afterwards, we spread out blankets and had a picnic.  Here is Tye triple-fisting her food, clutching sauteed broccoli, a seaweed rice cake, and a fresh fig.  She has discriminating taste already.  As long as she's eating real food and not bits and pieces of nature, we're doing alright.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Attached Girls

According to an article in the LA Times, the age at which a girl enters puberty is affected by her attachment to her first caregiver, usually the mother.  New research in Psychological Science shows that poor mother-daughter attachment is linked to early onset of puberty, which is in turn related to an increased risk of cancer, depression, anxiety, and earlier sexual activity, increasing risk of STDs and teen pregnancy.  Girls who were insecurely attached to their mothers were 2 1/2 times more likely to reach puberty early compared to girls who had strong attachments with their mothers.

Parenting aimed at creating a strong attachment- including breastfeeding on demand, baby wearing, co-sleeping, and responding to a child's cries- is so emotionally beneficial that its affects are seen in a child's physical well-being even years in the future.  It reminds me of the unofficial mantra I hear at local La Leche League meetings: "A baby's wants are a baby's needs."  Now there is evidence to prove that the attachment a baby wants is actually needed for good health later in life.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Favorite- Video Monitor

Some of the best advice I received about baby products was to purchase a video baby monitor.  My friend Caryn told me, "You'll think you won't need it, so you'll buy the regular sound monitor, but in about two weeks you'll want the video monitor and you'll go buy it, too.  So save yourself the cost of the regular one and just buy the video monitor now."

I'm extremely grateful I heeded her advice!  The video monitor has worked well with our non-conventional sleeping arrangements.  Tye sleeps best in our bed, both at night (before and after I join her) and for naps.  When Tye wakes up from a nap, she usually happily plays with Ziggy on the bed until I walk in to pick her up.  I know, though, that one of these days she'll go crawling, and I need to be able to watch her closely without having to stay in the room with her.  
We have the Summer brand video monitor, and it works well for us.  It's Tyler's favorite gadget because the camera zooms and pans across the room with a little joystick on the receiver.  Daytime viewing is in color, and darker viewing uses a night-vision camera.  The battery on the receiver doesn't last all that long- only about two hours, about enough to get us through a nap, but it plugs into any outlet- but that is my only complaint.  Otherwise, our video monitor has become a baby product I couldn't imagine living without.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

This week has been a week of playing catch-up... not in the usual sense, when I'm saying I need to catch up on laundry or chores.  I'm trying to catch up with Tye's growth.  Somewhere in the past week, she left me behind and grew in warp speed.  

Tye's summer clothes are suddenly all too small on her (thank goodness for hand-me-downs to get us into fall).  We're well into the 12-18 month sizes now, and while they look gigantic, they fit.  One of Tye's friends we see weekly looked identical to her on Friday- same exact size, same short blonde fuzz on mostly-bald heads- but today, Tye looked bigger than her.  

The biggest change, however, has come in the past 48 hours.  Tye decided she no longer is interested in sitting.  Rather, she insists upon pulling herself up to standing wherever she is.  She'll use anything she can find to assist her, whether it's high up- like the seat of my chair at this morning's La Leche League meeting- or barely higher than the floor, like her stuffed toys, or somewhere inbetween, like Mico's head.  Once her bum is in the air and off the ground, she's happy.  Sunday, Tye discovered that she can pivot from our coffee table to the couch behind her, all while standing.  She moved from the coffee table to the couch, walked the length of the couch and back, then returned to the table.  Our living room is now her playground.

Tye also decided that she can no longer be held.  Until Monday, inside any one of our carriers was Tye's favorite place, cozied up to a parent with a great view of the world.  Today, she cried and squirmed and reached for the ground every time I put her in it.  When I took her out and carried her, she tried to jump out of my arms.  I'm confident that we'll get past this stage as she has more opportunity to crawl and explore, but it's been a tough one so far this week. 

Tye's increased mobility has its perks.  She has finally learned how to push herself up from her belly to sitting, which makes her happy (most kids do that naturally as they crawl on all fours, but Tye's army crawl requires a pushup).  Her moving also has its downsides, beyond even the obvious extra energy required to chase after her.  Because Tye's belly is still glued to the ground as she moves, her shirts and dresses are quickly becoming trashed.  For some reason, they just don't stand up to being dragged over the sidewalk, through the grass, and across the carpet.  They look like something from the "before" side of a laundry detergent commercial (the ones that say in fine print, "Results simulated.")  

I love watching Tye learn as she utilizes her new-found speed and height.  So much more of our world is accessible to her now.  However, she's frustrated already that she can't move fast enough, can't reach everything and can't stand everywhere.  I'm so looking forward to her walking, for her sake (certainly not for mine!), that I'm having to remind myself several times a day to appreciate today for today and what it brings.  I'll only have a crawler for a short amount of time.  Before I know it, I'll be running behind Tye to catch up.


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