Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Daycare Called

Paloma turned 11 months old today. It's getting harder and harder to capture her monthly photos as she gets more mobile, but I managed to get this one today:



I've been planning on doing an annual photobook for her because I think it's a nice way to organize memories and to have something tangible. So this morning, during her nap, I uploaded a bunch of photos onto Snapfish. As they were uploading, my cellphone rang. I don't usually answer numbers I don't recognize, but this time I did. It was her daycare calling to tell me a spot was available for her to start on June 1st. I was totally caught off guard. I spoke to them only a few weeks ago and they told me to be prepared that she may not even have a spot in August. I thought I'd be calling my boss and asking for another extension of my maternity leave. For her to leave me in a few weeks? That's something I was definitely not ready for.

I called Andres sobbing. I could barely get the words out that her daycare had a spot for her in June. We arranged to stop by later that afternoon and I spent the rest of the day crying on and off. I don't know why it upset me so much when I had been hoping all along that she'd have a spot in July so I could slowly get her accustomed to her new life before dropping her off on my first day of work on August 1st. June 1st is only 4 weeks earlier than what I had been hoping for. (And $800 more expensive....) I let myself cry. Of course it's going to be a huge adjustment, why shouldn't I be sad to give up my time with her? It occurred to me that it's been ages since I last cried. When we were in the trenches of infertility it felt like I cried on a weekly basis.

We toured the daycare centre and I have to admit it was nice. They separate the kids into four rooms by age group. In the baby room there are 12 babies between the ages of 12 & 18 months. Each baby has their own crib and is assigned a primary caregiver. Each caregiver is responsible for 3 kids. They will allow us to use cloth diapers and to send food for her on the days when the menu has something I don't like. (Which seemed to be often.) If I have another baby and pull Paloma from the daycare while I'm on maternity leave, both kids would go to the top of the waiting list when my leave is over. It's not perfect, but nothing will be.

So I will start to bring her to daycare regularly for the next couple months before I head back to work in August. I know she will be fine and that she will adjust. I know she will have more than a few rough naps before she figures things out but I am still so choked up about this that I can hardly sleep or think about anything else! But as sad as this whole situation makes me, I can't help but think how lucky I am to even be in this situation. It doesn't feel like long ago when I would have given anything to be agonizing over these parental woes.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Followups

Things have been going well around here lately. I feel like a lot of my recent posts have been about challenges I've been facing (actually I think mostly everything I write is about that...) so I thought I'd give everyone a little update on things.

I wrote before about how we are reluctantly bed sharing. That's still going on, although less reluctantly now. I know this is only a temporary thing, so I've chosen to embrace the closeness we have at this stage in her life. I also wrote about night weaning and my hopes that getting Paloma to take in more calories during the day and off the boob at night would lead to more sleep for the whole family. I asked for your advice in how to go about night weaning and JustMe commented that she started slowly with 11:00 pm and added time as her little guy got used to it, so that was our game plan. We also really focused on doing everything we could to get Paloma to eat solids during the day which has been going amazingly well. Andino has been feeding her the majority of the time she's not feeding herself and she's been eating like a champ! I don't know if it's because her Dad is feeding her or because she's just feeling better now, but I'm SO glad she's finally getting some solids. It has made a huge difference in her night wakings.

I nurse her to sleep around 7 or 7:30, and she's up again around 8:30 or 9:00. I rock her back to sleep and she goes back down very easily. I'm usually out of her room within 10 minutes. Andino and I go to bed around 10:00 p.m. (party animals, I know!) and Paloma wakes up any time between 11:00 and 1:00. I bring her into my bed at that time and for the first few days I nursed her back to sleep but now I've cut that nursing session out as well. She sleeps through until 5:45 - 6:00 am with no wake ups to nurse. So we are down to only two wake ups as compared to like, a million before. One of the nights, instead of bringing her into my bed at midnight, I put her back in her crib and she slept until 4:30 but I was wide awake for over an hour after getting her back to sleep. I totally wake up when I go into her room in the middle of the night. I end up lying there awake while everyone else is enjoying their deep slumber and it makes me really angry, so I prefer to bring her into my bed for now. 

Did you read Mel's post Free Range Parenting and Helicopter Children? She said 
"I don’t have a lot of respect for parenting movements because parenting is actually not about the parents.  It’s about the children.  I have a lot more respect for people who say they don’t have a parenting philosophy but instead look at the children they have and parent them in a way that meets their individual needs.  And that means that every child in the house may be parented differently since they have different needs."

I loved that. It made me feel better about bed sharing with Paloma, even though it's not the parenting style I planned to have. It's the parenting style that Paloma needs right now (and allows the whole family to be well rested.)

As for naps, well they are still on the short side usually. I'm really trying not to stress about them and enjoy the last few months I have with her until she goes to daycare. A few times a week I make sure she naps in her crib instead of in my bed, the wrap or the stroller, just so it's not a gigantic transition at daycare. I'm making a big effort not to nurse her to sleep for her naps anymore. (I nurse her upon waking instead.) I still totally love when she falls asleep in the wrap though and it will probably be the thing I miss the most when I don't have babies anymore.

In other news, I told you that I was talking about #2 with my Doctor, but I didn't update you on how that went. Basically, she referred us back to the fertility clinic where Paloma was conceived. The referral is good for a year so there's no rush to start treatment right now (and I couldn't anyway because I'm still on maternity leave). The big take away from the appointment is that I have to wean Paloma before we try again. Well, I don't have to, but she said it would give us our best chance at conceiving so of course that's what we'll do. I'm not in any rush to wean her. I was really hoping the process would happen naturally once she's in daycare and we're apart more often (less boob temptation!) and she's taking in more solids. I'm pumping almost everyday so I can have lots of milk in the freezer for when I do wean her. She's recently started to drink milk from her cup  so it's not a matter of the boob being the only way she will take milk, it's more of a comfort thing. I've tried to get her to love a stuffed animal or blanky for comfort, but so far no luck.

Checking out the grocery delivery

Feeding her doll (in her dress made by me!!)
Playing with her cereal

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Letting Go

I've been thinking lately about how, in order to accomplish certain things, I have to let others go. 

It's not possible to have it all and do it all, all the time. On the days that I use my free time (when Paloma takes her little naps) to work on things that are important to me career-wise (mainly studying French) that means I'm not using that time to exercise. I may be able to exercise later when she takes her next nap, or when Andino gets home from work, but then I wouldn't be able to sit down and read a book, or do housework or whatever. I need to learn to prioritize and organize so I don't feel like I never study French or I never have time to myself to relax. And every day, I need to be okay with getting done whatever I can and not worry about the things that didn't get crossed off my never-ending to do list.

I think I've become pretty accepting of the days that I didn't get around to washing my face, but I accomplished other things that I felt were important. I just make sure the next day I pamper myself a little more. Maybe do a face mask or paint my nails and it all balances out in the end. Where I struggle is accepting that in order to be the kind of Mom I want to be, that means I need to accept - and ideally be okay with - the fact that there will be people around me who don't agree with the choices I've made and to some extent, judge me by them.

In order to be the kind of Mom - no, the kind of person - that I strive to be, I have to let go of the need to feel accepted and liked by everyone. I've always wanted to be a confident person who makes no apologies for their personality & beliefs and is fine knowing they aren't everyone's cup of tea.  Especially now that I'm a Mom in my 30s, this is something I really want to focus on. I want to be that strong, confident woman whose feathers don't get ruffled when someone makes off-hand comments. But how do I get there?

I've made choices - Andino and I have made choices - on how we want to raise our daughter. Someday soon she will be able to make her own choices and of course we will encourage and embrace that, but for now, we are calling all the shots. I totally get that some of our choices may seem crazy to people who have chosen to do things differently, but I have a hard time when I feel judged. I interpret their judgement as if people look at my daughter and feel like her Mother is not raising her right. Like Paloma is hard done by. I imagine them thinking their choices are superior to mine and it really hurts my feelings. I feel like I deserve not to be judged/criticized since I don't do that to others. I'd like to think I was never a judgmental person, but ever since becoming a Mom, the saying different strokes for different folks has never held more meaning.

To make matters worse, I have been worrying about worrying. That's pretty ridiculous isn't it? I don't want to be worried around Paloma all the time because I don't want her to absorb that energy. Now, more than ever, I have a reason to stop worrying - because I want to set an example for my daughter. Obviously I know that worry is a human emotion that we all experience, but I need more balance on the worry scale.

Why can't I just own my choices? Why do I care what others think? Will I ever be so happy and confident that no matter who says what, negativity just rolls off my back?

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Is Night Weaning The Answer?

Ever since Paloma stopped sleeping through the night at Christmas, I have had a feeling that it may have something to do with the fact that she eats very little solids. I am sure that many sleepless nights were caused by teething and the colds she caught over the winter and changing seasons, but I think there were also more than a few nights that she woke up to nurse because she was hungry. And it's not that we haven't been trying to feed her - I feel like we've tried everything! Tricking her to take a bite by playing the airplane game, purees, finger foods, mesh feeders and pouches. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Many times we thought we figured it out, only to have her refuse in disgust what she loved a few days before. I don't know why she prefers to breastfeed instead of solids, but all I can do is continue to try my best to get her to eat food. Andino and I discussed it and we think we might try to night wean her, in the hopes that by reducing her nighttime calories, she'll increase her food intake during the day. Makes sense, right? We'll probably start tonight so wish us luck. There's no guarantee we will actually follow through with it, though. In all honesty, we will need to be super dedicated to not giving in when she's crying and I just don't know if we are there yet. I do hope we are successful though, because at this point I feel like it's best for the family. More uninterrupted sleep and more solids for Paloma. Our plan is to start with a chunk of time and go from there. Like, no boob between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

My favourite website for baby sleep schedules is the Baby Sleep Site. I definitely don't follow their advice for sleep training, but I like that they give a sample schedule for each month of the first 2 years and so far it's been pretty bang-on with Paloma's natural cycles. It was there that I read about the 8,9,10 month sleep regression. Although Paloma's sleep started going downhill at around 7 months, I figured she was just going through this common sleep regression and decided to wait it out. She started to turn a corner last week, right after she got over a bad flu bug. She took two naps over an hour each and slept 7 hours straight, up for a feed then back down until morningish two nights in a row. I was so relieved to think the sleep regression was behind us. But then, for the last two nights, she was back to her every 2 hour antics, which is what made me decide to start night weaning her.

I thought about sleep training back in February when I was at my wits end, but I couldn't do it. And then she would sleep really well for a few nights and I'd be glad I didn't make her cry it out. And I'd catch up on my sleep and be really happy with the way things were going for a few weeks. And then inevitably, I'd hit a wall of sleep deprivation and find myself at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. wrestling my 20-something pound fussy (hungry? sick?) baby and feeling like the whole situation wasn't fair and getting mad that I wasn't asleep. Then the next morning I'd feel guilty that I got mad. That I angrily said to her Just Go To Sleep! the night before.

So while I admit that I had a few nights where I wished  that she would just fucking sleep, I think my stress comes, for the most part, from perceived outside pressures.  I often find myself feeling like I need to justify why she doesn't sleep through the night anymore. Why I decided to co-sleep for most of the night, why I keep my T.V. turned down really low when I've finally gotten her to sleep, why I'm still breastfeeding all the time. Why I'm so strict with what food she eats (she eats so little solids that I really, really want her to eat healthy, nutritious things when she does eat instead of empty calories.) But I'm working on another whole post about this topic of stress and judgement. So for now, I'll leave it at that.

Anyone ever night-weaned their baby before? Tips? Suggestions?

Monday, 6 April 2015

To Andino, Just Because

I'm a big believer that showing your appreciation for your spouse shouldn't come at pre-set times like Valentine's Day or your Anniversary, but at times when you're feeling it. Since lately I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have Andino, I thought I'd show my appreciation for him tonight.

Andino,

You've always had my back. You supported me to follow my dreams, even when those dreams meant you had to make sacrifices. You have sacrificed your time, money and energy for the benefit of our family more times than I can count or remember. You never waivered in doing what had to be done in order to fill our home with the sounds and smells and joys of a baby. You have supported all my parenting decisions which means more to me than I think you know. You support my breastfeeding relationship with Paloma, which is easy now, but wasn't in the beginning. You've slept on the couch so your girls would be well rested. You embraced the family traditions I've started over the holidays. You do way more work for our non-profit than you probably envisioned when we launched it. You budget our finances so we can enjoy the lifestyle we do.... then you break the budget every single week for me. You always, always choose us first. You help me to calm down and put things in perspective when I worry too much. You encourage me to pursue my career goals. You bring me home beautiful, thoughtful gifts. You write me love songs.

When we met and had a whirlwind romance, I imagined living a happily ever after with you and you've lived up to every expectation and more.

I really love you.


 
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