Monday, 29 June 2015

June

It's been so hot here lately. The prairies are the land of extreme temperatures and it's hard on this Maritimer. I've lived here for 5 years (on and off... but mostly on) and I just can't get used to it. Obviously the frigid winters are tough, but the summers aren't easy either. I just don't love the heat like I used to. I once spent 2 weeks in Cuba in the middle of August and enjoyed the sweltering weather. I won't go so far as to say I loved the heat in Mozambique... especially not when I was suffering from heat rash for months on end, but I didn't hate it. Now I can't stand the heat in July in Canada. Does this mean I'm getting old? 

I avoid the midday sun, so I go outside with Paloma every morning for an hour or so, and again in the early evening. I bought her a sandbox and baby pool the other day. She loves the sandbox. The baby pool not so much, but the dogs love it! Her favourite activity these days is to paint the cement with water. It entertains her long enough for me to sit and read the news and drink my tea in relative peace, which is how I like to start the day.





The beginning of June was tough, because I was bringing Paloma to daycare. I wanted her to have lots of time to slowly adjust so it wouldn't be a drastic transition. The first few times I stayed with her, then I started leaving her for an hour. She was doing great and her teachers were impressed. Then, she got her one year vaccination and everything took a turn for the worse. She just wasn't herself. She was waking all through the night, so she was tired all day. She wanted to spend the entire day in my arms and would break down as soon as I was out of sight. She didn't even feel okay when I left her with her Dad when I took a quick trip to the grocery store. I felt terrible. I wasn't sure if she was feeling under the weather from the vaccinations, if she had separation anxiety again or if she was getting traumatized from being left at daycare. I continued to drop her off for a few hours, a few days a week but she just scream-cried on and off the whole time. She refused to eat or sleep there and was just miserable. When we came to pick her up she'd be huffing and puffing when she breathed from all the crying. I was stressed.

Then, we decided to book a week vacation to go home in July. When I told the daycare that Paloma would be taking a week off, I got a call the next day from the Director. She told me that she's seen a lot of kids be off their game for a few weeks after their one year vaccinations and that I shouldn't feel like I need to keep bringing her because we will basically be starting from the beginning again after our vacation since she will have gotten used to spending all day everyday with us. She said some kids take a few weeks to adjust to daycare and some take a few months, but they all get there. I felt better and decided to stop taking her.

She is back to sleeping through the night and is okay with being without me again. Now she has a really stuffed up nose and is teething, but for the most part she is feeling like herself again. After our vacation, she will only have about a week to transition into daycare full time. I know it's going to be really tough, but we have no other choice. I need to go back to work so I can be eligible for maternity leave again when we start trying for another baby. 

I have a few other things I want to write about. Hopefully it doesn't take me 3 weeks to find the time again! 


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Changes

There are big changes coming my way very soon and I've been feeling very anxious about them. I always try to keep my writing concise but this is probably going to be too long...

To start with, I go back to work in August. Truth be told, I like my job. I think I would feel a lot worse about leaving Paloma if I was dreading having to be around the people I work with, doing something I dislike, but since I have a positive work environment it's not so bad. But when I think about being away from my little girl for the vast majority of her waking hours, I feel absolutely gutted. It's not that I would want to be a stay at home Mom forever, I just don't feel like I'm ready to leave her yet. People keep telling me that the socialization aspect of daycare will be good for her and while I do agree, it's not like she doesn't have the opportunity to socialize when she's home with me. We are out doing activities and play groups at least 3 days a week. Plus, sooner than later she'd be in school and sports which would provide all the socialization she needs. I'll admit there will be aspects of daycare that will be beneficial for her. I'm sure she will enjoy it overall. But if I had a choice and money were no object, I wouldn't be sending her. We had to start paying in June to secure our spot for August, so we are taking full advantage of the $800/month we are paying and will be taking her over the next two months so she can slowly get used to it before she has to spend a full day. We've already spent a couple hours there together and she's been doing great. She loves to play with the other kids and all the new toys. She joined in the snack time and ate marshmallows for the first time. I'll start leaving her for half an hour or an hour starting next week. I have been feeling so anxious about leaving her that I've been struggling to be in the moment when we are home. I don't want to waste these last weeks together worrying about the future and will certainly do my best to enjoy them to the maximum. 

I should also say that I'm sure going back to work will be good for me in some ways. To get ready and dressed for work and go into my office and do adult things and have more me-time will be nice. I've always been the kind of person who gets a lot of personal fulfillment from my work and I need to nurture that part of me. That being said, I am spending as much time as I can running my non-profit so I don't feel desperate to get out of the house and go back to work so I can feel like I'm doing something other than parenting because I already get that fulfillment from mamas 4 mamas.

The other big change going on here is weaning. For the past few months I've been thinking about night weaning, and attempted it a few times, but I always gave in when the crying went on for too long. Paloma went through a phase from 8-10 months where she was often refusing food and was getting most of her calories from breastfeeding, so I didn't feel comfortable night weaning her when she was obviously hungry. Now, she eats like a champ and I know she can make it through the night without eating. When she was born, I had a goal to nurse her for a year minimum, but I was kind of hoping to make it to 2 years because that's what my midwife suggested. Breastfeeding is going so well for us, it makes me sad to stop. For some women, they want to wean because they've just had enough for one reason or another, but that's just not the case for me. Really, the only reason I am weaning her is to bring back my fertility/menstrual cycles so I can try again for another baby. I have a couple friends who said it took around 6 months for their periods to come back regularly after weaning. Since I'm hoping to start treatments again in the winter, I feel like the time is ticking to bring back my cycles. 

My plan of attack is to start with the night weaning. I always put her down for the night in the crib and then bring her into my bed on the first wake up. When she was not eating many solids she was up and down, up and down all night long until I couldn't take it anymore and brought her into my bed and I found myself reluctantly bed sharing. Now, I have come to like sleeping next to her, Or at least, I've gotten used to it and I don't feel motivated to change it right now. I like starting her out in her crib though, so Andino and I can do things around the house and I don't have to worry about her falling. Usually, I'd nurse her when I brought her into my bed and then at least twice more before morning. To get her off the boob at night, I decided to offer her pumped milk in a cup instead. I figured if she really was hungry, she'd take the milk. The first night we started the weaning process, she woke up around midnight and when I brought her into my bed, I snuggled her, patted her back, rolled over and ignored her. I tried all my usual tricks but she wasn't falling for them and was quite upset that I wasn't nursing her. I kept offering her the cup of milk but she was pushing it away. She cried for about an hour and it was really tough but I held onto my guns because I knew the first night would be the hardest. She kept crawling on top of me and grabbing my boobs. Eventually, she accepted the cup of milk and took about 10 gulps and fell asleep with her head on my stomach. She slept through until morning (6ish) Nights 2 & 3 went much better. She woke at the same time as usual (between midnight and 1 a.m.) I brought her into my bed and she whined a bit but accepted the cup of milk fairly easily and then fell asleep. Both nights she woke once before morning for a few sips of milk. Soon, I'll offer her water in the cup instead of milk. 

Once we have accomplished night weaning, I'll take on the day. I don't think that will be as hard because she is easily distracted. The hardest nursing session to stop will be when I nurse her to sleep at night. That will be the last nursing session to go and I'm sure I'll be more emotional when I attempt to end that. I will try to wean her completely as quickly as possible without making it super difficult on her. I feel like it would be easier on me that way to just get it over with instead of dragging it out. 

Despite these things that are making me feel anxious and emotional, I am determined to do my best to enjoy every last minute of my summer with Paloma.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

First Birthday

We celebrated Paloma's first birthday 3 times over the week/weekend and I have finally accepted that she is not a little baby any more. When she started taking a few steps at around 10 months, my Dad called her a toddler. I denied it wholeheartedly, even when he said "but that is the definition of a toddler! A baby toddling around!" No Dad. She's still my little baby. But when she turned 1 and was practically running around at her party, there was no denying that Paloma is no longer a helpless little squishy ball of baby bliss. She's a happy, confident and strong little toddler. Her birthday was on Wednesday and we started the day by meeting friends for a picnic brunch in the park. Paloma's friend B was born on the same day as her and we get together quite regularly, so we thought we'd celebrate their birthday together.

Chasing the Canada Geese

What a girl

Andino took the afternoon off work and picked us up from the park. We all went for a swim after lunch because Paloma absolutely loves swimming. She had her afternoon nap and then she opened her present from us. Andino said we should just put it together after she went to sleep for the night but I didn't agree and spent the next hour or so putting it together while she climbed all over me and the pieces. I was determined to let her use it on her birthday. 

Her Birthday Present from us

Her birthday party was planned for Saturday at the park. I'd already purchased all the decorations and I thought I'd spend Thursday grocery shopping and Friday preparing as much food as possible ahead of time, so Saturday wouldn't be scrambled. We didn't have a backup plan for bad weather and by Thursday the forecast was calling for cold, wet & windy weather on Saturday. We decided to cancel her birthday party. We tried to change the venue to an indoor location, but we couldn't find anywhere that could accommodate the 40+ people I invited. (Maybe it was a little much for her first birthday, but it was also a celebration of our first year as parents.) So I spent the morning making a dozen phone calls, unsuccessfully trying to find an indoor venue and the afternoon contacting everyone to tell them the party was cancelled due to weather. Then I felt terrible. I had been planning the party for months and I really wanted my girl to have a special day. We were still planning to have a get together with Andino's family at our place, but I wanted all her little baby friends that we've spent the year hanging out with to celebrate with her too. So we contacted everyone again to tell them the party was on, but would be split in two. Parents and kids (basically my friends) on Saturday and Andino's family and friends on Sunday. One of my best girlfriends helped out majorly by making some AMAZING tissue paper flowers and photographing the party. We live in a 780 square foot house and it often feels cramped with just the three of us and 2 dogs (granted we have a mastiff) and on Saturday there were 12 babies/kids and 18 adults.

My family

Her friends (aka my friend's kids) missing a few!

Opening presents
We were up late Friday night getting the food ready for the party, because I did the shopping and baking/cooking on the same day. Andino helped a lot. He took Paloma swimming while I made the cakes and then once she was in bed, he set up the decorations and helped make sandwiches. 

The theme of the party was "You Are My Sunshine" On the menu: 

Sandwiches/Wraps: Curry Chicken Salad SandwichesTex-Mex Pinwheels, Ham and Turkey
Snack: Kettle Corn & Fruit Kabobs

Birthday Cakes: A healthy Maple Apple cake for the babies (with cream cheese frosting dyed yellow with a pinch of tumeric!) and for the Adults, a basic yellow cake




For her Sunday party, I made pancakes. (I make good pancakes) and served with a raspberry sauce, sauteed bananas and sauteed apples. And maple syrup of course. Oh and bacon. (I don't eat bacon but tried to please the family) We ran out of cupcakes from her Saturday party, so after everyone left I made a fresh cake for the Sunday party from the same recipe. We ended up throwing more than half in the garbage, but I'm still glad we had cake to offer people. 

The weekend was amazing, but so exhausting. 




 
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