Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pierre the Bear

I thought I'd write about one of my son's favorite toys. His name is Pierre the Bear and he hails from Paris, France. My family picked him up on our trip there last summer unbeknownst to me and gave him to us at one of our showers. He's a little lovey (mini-blanket with a head, hands, and feet) and rattles when you shake him.

One of the great things about Pierre, is that his feet are rubber and are meant for teething and general chewing delight. That being said, my son will chew/suck on any part of Pierre if he gets the chance. And when his hair is all crusty and matted from saliva, I just throw him in the washing machine and he comes out good as new! Fantastic!

Pierre is made by a French company called Noukie's ( He isn't one of their current toys, but they have a wonderful program that if something were to happen to Pierre, I could buy a new identical toy from them so my son's heart wouldn't be broken.

(Of course, when looking for Pierre on their website, I found out that he is, in fact, a cat. He looks like a bear to me, though, so we'll keep on referring to him as such.)

Sunkist Breaks the Rules

So yeah, I didn't know this, but Sunkist pop has caffine in it! Uh hello? I thought all orange pops were caffine free. I feel horrible for drinking it while nursing, but I honestly didn't know.

That being said, I should really be drinking healthier things, like water or juice.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yeah, so Monday night we had dinner at my in-laws' house and decided to forgo the barley dinner for my son. BIG mistake. That night he woke up about three times, each time just ravenous for food.

Lesson learned.

Speaking of which, he had two barley meals yesterday! He's growing up so fast.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another Weird Dream

I don't remember nearly as much of this one, but I do know one thing ...

I kicked Sydney Pollack's ass! (Only he wasn't Sydney Pollack in my dream.)

Seriously, I wiped the floor clean with him. Sooooo weird.

Have to say, though, I feel kinda bad ... I think he died last year. (Not that I have any control over my dreams, but still I feel bad.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weird Dream

So I had a weird dream this morning (sometime between 7:00 a.m. and 8:40 a.m.).

My husband, son, and I were on a vacation with Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, one of the Pussycat Dolls (not the lead singer), Suri, and some other baby at what seemed to be a wild west theme park. I thought the Pussycat Doll girl was a nanny, but it turned out later that she was another wife for Tom ... didn't know Scientologists did that, but oh well.

We were all walking down this dusty dirt road, my husband pushing my son in the stroller, when a "flash flood" came rolling down the street past a covered wagon that was just ahead of us. I got swept up in it and lost sight of my boys (and the rest of our party). Somehow I ended up going through one of the windows in the covered wagon and as the water (which was actually more the consistency of KY Jelly) lowered I saw that I was floating in the wagon with one of the theme park employees. He confirmed that it was a man-made flash flood that the park was trying out as one of its attractions, which I had long suspected. I then realized that my husband and infant son weren't with me and started to cry. The employee said that the park was trying to be conscientious of the fact that small children might be in the crowd and that hopefully he had been diverted.

Just then, another wave came up and again I was under "water", tumbling head over heels in the covered wagon. Suddenly all the "water" drained out and I was left sittting, soaking wet, on the floor of what seemed to be the basement of a shopping mall with Katie. She seemed to be less than thrilled that all this had happened, but then I realized that she was more stoic (almost robotic) than merely pissed off. We got on an elevator going up, and when the doors opened my husband and son were standing there, safe and sound! Whew.

They got on the elevator with us and we all went back down a couple floors to the food court area where Tom and the Doll were feeding Suri and the baby. Tom looked at us and I could tell from his expression, though robotic, that he was not happy with Katie for disappearing for so long (even though she had no control over it). As it turns out, Suri is very, very articulate for her age, but she seems to have no joy in her demeanor. She walked around and also seemed very robotic. I should mention, though, that they weren't actually robots ... it all just seemed very Stepford and cold.

My husband looked pissed at having to hang around these people without me, so I gave him a look of apology as he heated up some ravioli in a microwave for our son (who still had no teeth in my dream ... I don't quite know what my husband was thinking). Just then ...

my alarm clock went off.

If Tom Cruise and his two wives are anything like they were in my dream, I don't think I want to be friends with them.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Barley and Me

My son has been eating barley (mixed with breastmilk) for about a week and a half now, and so far it has been going pretty well.
Last night, however ...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nap: 1 Mom: 1!

Yeah, he took three naps yesterday! Oh, and each was at least 40 minutes long ... the last one was about 1 hour and 10 minutes long! Yay! I am so proud of my little guy!

And to top it all off HE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!! Yup, that's right. In fact, he's still sleeping. Awesome.

That being said, we learned a valuable lesson last night: when a baby is on a schedule, it is best not to stray from the schedule if possible. We decided to try putting him to bed an hour early last night because he seemed awfully tired, and he ended up crying for about an hour. In our arms, yes, but still crying for an hour. He was just soooo awake. Every time I tried putting him in bed, he woke up crying.

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Glamourmom Nursing Top

For anyone who is nursing, pregnant and planning on nursing, or knows someone who is or will be nursing soon, I have a tip on a great product. It is a nursing tank top made by Glamourmom. Basically it is a tank top with a shelf nursing bra built right in. I'm not sure if I would wear this during the day, as the nursing clasps are quite evident, but it is FANTASTIC for nighttime. You can find it at Motherhood Maternity, or if you live in the Grand Rapids area you can check out Baby Beloved Inc. for a whole line of Glamourmom products. This is the only one I have tried so I can't vouch for the other ones, but I LOVE this one!

Nap: 1 Mom: 0

Wow, yesterday was rough! I had so many things I wanted to get done around the house (and didn't), and my son only took about three 15 minute naps ... not enough for him at all. By the end of the day, his little eyes were rimmed in red and were all puffy from exhaustion. And yes, it broke my heart to see him that way.

It's not like I didn't try to get him to nap. I did. We tried so hard. But whether it was gas or being overtired or something else entirely, something kept him from getting to sleep. I'd put him down in his nice dark room, pretty close to sleep after a nice feeding, then BAM ... about ten seconds later he'd be awake and crying. Not just the moaning he does sometimes to get himself to sleep. Full on crying. At one point, I'll admit, I ended up crying. It broke my heart to see him so tired and yet so completely unable to sleep. I'll also admit that I was exhausted myself and just needed a minute not to be holding or trying to entertain an 18 pound baby.

Being a mom is hard work, a lot harder than anyone gives mothers credit for. But even on days like yesterday, I still love it; seeing him smile at me and getting to help him become the man he'll eventually be is a hugely rewarding job.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mommy vs. The Nap

Yeah, we're having trouble with naps. (Incidentally, it's also probably why we're having trouble sleeping through the night ... apparently sleep begets more sleep.) My son appears to be a cat-napper - stealing half-an-hour to hour-long naps throughout the day whenever he can. Problem is, at least in terms of napping, the little guy is as curious as they come. He can't stop looking around, checking out what is going on with everything and everyone, and in the end it keeps him from basically getting bored enough to fall asleep. Sadly, then, we come back to the "crying it out" scenario in his crib ... and quite frankly it pains me to let him do it.

So, on days like today when he has fallen asleep in his car seat, I find myself staring at him in the living room, sleeping ever-so-soundly in his car seat. Yes, he's probably sweating buckets (the fabric doesn't breathe overly well) and he's not lying flat, but at least he's sleeping, right?



Well, either way, I doubt it will harm him irreparably or scar him for life if he takes a few naps in his car seat. He is able to sleep in his crib at night, and it's good for him to be able to sleep in different places with varying degrees of light and noise around. He won't always be guaranteed a pitch black nursery, soothing white noise (from his ceiling fan), and comfortable crib.

A Beautiful Dream

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and in honor of this great man and the ideals he stood for, I thought it appropriate to talk about his most famous speech. I reread it today, and feel that, as silly as it sounds, I have seen it with new eyes. Read it for yourself at:

It is a beautiful speech, eloquent yet simple in its message ... freedom for everyone. Doesn't that seem basic? Essential, even? As we inaugurate our first African American president tomorrow (how awesome is that?!), we can physically see the progress we have made as a country. And though we have come a long way since Dr. King's time, I know we aren't there yet. There are still injustices and inequalities that abound in our society for all sorts of "different" people.

In a very small attempt to keep us on a path to greater freedom and equality, I am going to start a new tradition today with my son. Every year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I am going to read to him (or, eventually, have him read to me) the "I Have a Dream" Speech. It is an excellent reminder of what this country was built on, what it has been through, and what it should strive towards.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Play Mat = Heaven

My son loves his play mat. Seriously loves it. It is the Baby Einstein Seek and Discover Activity Gym, and honestly it wasn't our first choice. We had originally registered for the Tiny Love activity mat, but Babies R Us stopped selling it for a while so we had to quickly decide on something else. I looked at our options, and the reviews on's website sold me on the mat we currently have. Everyone kept raving about this star that comes with the mat. While our son didn't love it right away (he, honestly, didn't like being put down during his first few weeks) he soon fell in love with it ... especially the star!

It comes with five toys: a duck, a sun, a cardinal, an apple, and flashcards. Ours was actually missing the flashcards, but I didn't see the point of returning it for something I wasn't really sure he would use anyway. At four months of age, he has been grabbing at the duck, cardinal, and sun and is starting to work on his "pinching" skills.

It also comes with the aforementioned star. Each point of the star is a different color, and the center of the star is a smiley face that lights up and plays classical music. It has two volume settings and two play settings; you can either have it play continuously, or you can set it to play when the baby nudges one of the arches it is attached to. We usually keep it on the latter setting, and it seems to have encouraged our son to kick and dance to get the star to turn on. Either way, he grins from ear to ear when it starts to play.

In addition, it comes with a baby-safe mirror that can be attached to the gym arches. He hasn't enjoyed this aspect of the gym as much, however we have taken the mirror off and used it for tummy time and on his bouncy seat. It actually helped him enjoy tummy time a bit and gave him something to look at.

The mat itself is very colorful as are the arches it comes with. We chose this mat, not only for the rave reviews, but also because it is unisex ... wonderful because we didn't know the sex of our baby AND because we'll be able to use it for a future child no matter their sex. Also, the mat is machine washable and very easy to spot clean.

For what it's worth, I highly recommend this particular play mat. Just my humble opinion.

Bad Mommy? (The Battle to Sleep Through the Night)

Last night was bad. Oy, it was bad ... at least I think it was.

Let me start over. We decided to start seeing a new pediatrician this week. Our former ped was fine; he was a very nice man, soft-spoken with a very calming demeanor. That said, it took me a half an hour just to get there, and sometimes it felt like we had to pull information out of him. So we're now seeing a new doc only twelve minutes away from our house. He's a lot different than the last ped, much more gregarious and opinionated. He has four kids himself, so he is well-versed in hands-on child care, and he seemed to take an instant liking to our son.

That being said, I am now wondering about some advice he gave to us. I asked him about sleeping through the night and whether or not our son should be allowed to "cry it out". The doc said that our boy is old enough and big enough to do it and that we should take three nights and just let him cry himself to sleep if he wakes up in the middle of the night (and isn't in pain - he has a tendency to have a lot of gas).

So we tried it last night. He woke up at about 3:37 a.m. and began to cry a bit. After more than twenty minutes of hearing my beautiful baby cry and moan, my husband asked if I thought he had possibly rolled over (he's done it a couple times, but usually gets his left arm stuck underneath himself), so I went in to check on him. Even in the darkness I'm pretty sure he could still see me, and he promptly calmed down but did not stop whimpering. I then had to decide whether or not to touch him or pick him up. (sigh) I'm pretty sure I made the wrong decision ... I picked him up. Of course, he was happy as a clam when I did this, but he was awake and then thought he was going to be fed. Sadly, he was right. Agh, why did I do that?! Twenty minutes of agony, down the toilet.

After he ate, he quickly fell back asleep and I was left to dejectedly wander back to bed. I couldn't sleep for a while, wondering if I had made a critical error in our efforts to get our baby to be a "good sleeper". In the darkness, I also began to wonder if I had somehow scarred my boy for life. Would he now think that we won't be there for him when he needs us? For those twenty minutes did he feel like he had been abandoned? The thought almost sent me to tears.

My son woke up this morning at around 8:30 and was a little fussier than usual, but overall he was fine. He played on his playmat and wondered at the block my sister knit for him for Christmas and by 10:00 he was ready to eat again. As I fed him, my husband and I discussed last night's events, wondering if we did ANYTHING right.

I really hate to question the advice of our ped, because it's their job to know what to do with a baby, but I'm not sure if letting our four month-old son cry it out was the best idea. Granted, at 18 lbs. 3 oz. and 28 inches long, he looks more like an eight month-old baby, but shouldn't age matter more than size?

The baby book we have says not to let him cry at night at all until he's six months old and then to do a controlled crying technique to teach him how to soothe himself when he wakes up at night. Should we do that?

Any advice for a couple of very confused parents?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'd Go Postal, Too

Our mail man just drove by, his truck straining against the mountains of snow piled at the end of each driveway, and I started thinking, "It's no wonder they go crazy! I guess they don't call it 'going postal' for nothing." These poor postal workers have to be out in ALL types of weather ... rain, sleet, snow, heat ... and have to drive around with their windows open!

I just can't imagine doing that. But I am glad someone can. Thank you to all the postal workers out there who make mail delivery possible!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reading List

My son loves it when we read to him. It could be, perhaps, because we read to him even before he was born ... who knows. Either way, he has certain books that he just loves; he listens intently whenever we read them.

Here's my baby boy's reading list (in no particular order):

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Good message, great rhyming ... a true classic.

2. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
A Christmas gift from his grandpa ... one I loved as a child.

3. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
My husband reads this to him with such vigor, possibly in the hopes that he will learn to try all sorts of foods.

4. ABC by Dr. Seuss
A fun way to learn the alphabet, complete with made up words. And there's nothing like Dr. Seuss playing in your head all day ... "Aunt Annie's Aligator ... AaA"

5. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
A tough book to read, but one of his favorites by far. Makes you wonder if Dr. Seuss was on something when he wrote it.

6. Gossie by Olivier Dunrea
One of my favorites for him about a gosling who loses her boots. Cute as can be.

7. On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier
A gift from my high school German teacher (Thanks, Frau!). It teaches him about our world ... and the end makes me cry every time.

8. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
A classic and a great introduction to the world of Clifford.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Merry Christmas (belatedly) and Happy New Year!

If I thought last year's holiday season was hectic working at Hallmark, it was NOTHING compared to Christmas with an infant. And in a crappy economy.

My husband and I decided to cut back a little on our gift budget this year, particularly on gifts for each other. Only $30 to find the perfect gift for the man in my life. Whoa. I thought about a blanket that he and our son could snuggle under, but we have a ton of blankets already. I thought about a journal he could write in to tell our son about life, but my dad said that was too girly. Go figure.

Then I thought of it ... the perfect gift idea. A wall calendar for his office with new pictures of our son in it. AND, to top it all off, I decided to dress the poor child up for each month. Not a bad idea if you have a lot of time, a child who could hold his head up (or sit up), or extra money for costumes. I had a week and a half, a three month old baby, and about $23 (I spent a little on stocking stuffers on Black Friday).

But I did it. No, that's not fair - WE did it. Me, my son, my mom, my sister, and my dad all pulled it together at the last minute. From sledding outside in January to Santa in December, the calendar turned out great (if I do say so myself). Of course, when it arrived EVERY SINGLE PAGE WAS RIPPED at the bottom. Sooo not cool.

Bless my sister's heart, seeing how over-stressed I was by this snafu and all the other gifts I had to think about buying, she contacted the complaint department at Shutterfly and quick as can be they had a new one to us and allowed us to keep the damaged one. Gotta love Shutterfly!

Come our Christmas (we had five of them this year - us, Maxey 1, Jacques 1, Jacques 2, and Maxey 2), my husband was surprised and seemed to love it. The goal for every gift, if you ask me.

Incidentally, he got me something I've been waiting for for over three years ... our wedding photo album. He looked through my notes on the one that should have been made (our photographer went bankrupt before we could get our album) and made me a beautiful album on Shutterfly, complete with a black leather cover. Love it.