Monday, December 20, 2010

Where has the time gone?

I can't believe Theodor is almost 9 months. Time is really just flying by now. He has been sick the past weeks with 2 different viruses and an infection, which basically hasn't affected him at all. He had a really high fever for a day and now has little red spots on his hands and feet but his behavior this whole time has been classic Teddy. In a good mood, enjoying life and practicing his new skills- standing and trying to "cruise".

It is so exciting to realize that soon our little guy will be walking. He is 24 pounds now so my arms will really enjoy a bit of a break, plus he is so proud of himself when he pulls himself up to standing that I can't imagine how he will feel when he takes his first step. I am pretty sure it will be happening in the next month or two- as he is SO determined. Practicing standing and "walking" is all he wants to do, all day everyday. Thankfully he has been in such a good mood that I have even managed to get some wash done, as you can see here:D

I've also managed to get one Christmas jelly done to give as gifts (grapefruit sesame seed) and just have one more to go (carrot cake) and then I am making little macaroons to go with them. I found these great little glass jam jars and I think the finished product of 2 jellies and a few macaroons wrapped up in clear paper will look really nice. Once I am done I will share a picture of the finished product, as I am pretty psyched to be giving homemade gifts this year. Unfortunately there was one victim- a fig currant jelly that tasted so so bad that I had to pour out 7 jars of it. Sometimes it makes sense to test a recipe out before doubling it and making it a gift LOL.

4 days to go!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

6 to 6

Yes that is right you read that correctly, SIX TO SIX! Our amazing son slept from 6pm to 6am last night. F Yeah! Sorry but seriously, F YEAH! I then nursed him and he slept another hour and then we got up at 7. This was with taking two naps of about an hour and a half each. SO AMAZING.

I was honestly a bit shocked when he woke up for me to feed him, "Woah, it isn't 12 or 3 or 4?" "What?, seriously??"
I mean Teddy was never one of those natural good sleepers. His longest stretch the first 4 months was 3 hours because he had a fever, and even after we sleep trained he still woke up 1-3 times in the night to nurse which I was fine with.

He also had weeks where he woke up 5+ times in the night and sometimes refused to go back to sleep for hours due to being sick, or learning to crawl, or having a bad night, or being 7 months, or whatever else he could think of;)

Throughout it all we stuck with it and him of course. When he woke up, if I hadn't just been in then I nursed him and put him back down, and if I had just nursed him then I picked him up held him for a little bit and then put him back down and left his room. Then he either went to sleep or I came back 5-10 minutes later and we repeated this until he fell asleep. This system works well for us and for naps and the initial bedtime put down he almost never cries but of course after a few weeks of him waking often in the night I started to wonder if I needed to change something. Was he sleeping too much during the day or too little? Did I need to just leave him be and stop nursing during the night? Was his room too warm or too cold? Too light or too dark? You get the picture.

Well it looks like it was just a phase must likely due to learning to crawl and being sick. This phase lasted quite a few weeks but I think it might be over. Even if he doesn't sleep as well tonight I know he can do it and I know that the future holds me getting 8 hour stretches on a continual basis. Which is pretty darn cool.

Yay for sleep!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We were away on holidays,

it was great. Baby is sick which doesn't seem to bother him much. He constantly had streams of snot on his face which was one of those things where I used to say I WOULD NEVER LET HAPPEN TO MY CHILD. You know before I actually had one and was all idealistic about all the things I would and wouldn't do.

But then I did have one and apparently wiping his nose is the absolute worst thing that I or my husband can do to him. He first twists his head back as far as humanly possible and then just starts pitifully crying like he is seriously the absolute saddest little boy ever. So finally we just decided whatever. It doesn't seem to bother him, and just made sure to wipe him off with a warm washcloth a few times a day.

He also has a nice hacking little cough which of course only shows up at night and makes me fear for his life but also drives me a bit crazy because he is waking up a zillion times again. Well OK 3 times on a good night 5+ on a bad.  But seriously I want an 8 hour stretch of sleep soon. It seems like it has been months since we have had a really good night and even though there always seems to be a legitimate reason: illness, learning to crawl, trying to stand, etc. it still doesn't make me want a full night of sleep any less.

It was so much fun to introduce him to sand, and water, and fish, and just hang out with him and my husband. I am so blessed that we were able to take a break from daily life and just enjoy each other. Now we are back and life is hitting me in full force. Teddy is super clingy which means the mountain of wash is barely diminishing, the Christmas decorations are spread out on a table but not put up, the Christmas letter isn't written, the Christmas jams aren't made, and the house is a mess. But life is good and I am just taking it a day at a time.

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the season:)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dennis

I loved watching Dennis the Menace when I was a kid. There was a movie that came out with Walter Matthau as Mr. Wilson and even though I was a bit old for it, I loved that too. I thought Dennis was great. So much fun and so lively... I think you can tell where this is heading. Yep I wished if I had a son he would be like Dennis. Now clearly I wasn't putting much thought into this as I do believe that our thoughts have power and strength, which is why I should have put a bit more time into picturing the weeks after the birth as calm and beautiful with a baby who barely cried instead of thinking how adorable it was how Dennis always seemed to be getting into goodhearted scrapes and trouble.

I think that day by day Teddy's true personality is really starting to show through, and lets just say that at this moment it looks like I got my wish. If he is awake he is looking around, moving around, trying to get at something just out of reach, something with which he most probably should not be playing. He doesn't like to be held or cuddled unless you are at that moment allowing him to touch something which he isn't big enough to reach on his own. My PEKiP instructor once commented that Teddy nursed not only for food or comfort but also clearly for pleasure. That used to be true but it is like at about 6 months a switch went off in his head and he realized that everything he was seeing could be interacted with, and every moment he spent nursing was a moment he could spend trying to pull something off a shelf, or rip something in half. Now nursing occurs only directly after naps and bedtime and once in the night when he is still a bit too tired to realize that he could be squirming away.

He loves to play with things that he shouldn't and it isn't due to lack of his own wonderful toys either. I am super relaxed when it comes to play so although he is allowed to roam free, I also have a great area set up with lots of different toys. Wood toys, toys I have made, toys that aren't toys but which he likes, plastic noisemakers, etc.
Here is a picture to give you an example- the most time he has spent on that play mat? 2 minutes. The amount of time he has spent trying to get under my computer desk? Way, way, too much. Thankfully we ascribe a bit to the whole European/modern /minimalistic aesthetic and there aren't very many things which he can pull down, take apart, etc but what there is, has been.

I won't lie. While it does drive me a bit crazy at moments, like when I was trying to bake these Schlesische Lebkuchen (Silesian German Gingerbread cookies) yesterday (ending up just doing it after bedtime).

For the most part I love it. I think it is adorable, and I love that he is robust and doesn't cry due to pain basically ever, that for some reason he isn't much interested in other kids or babies unless he can gnaw on their feet, or grip their faces with his pudgy little claw hands(I constantly cut his nails and still they somehow manage to dig in), that he loves to bang on the keyboard, pull cords, and thinks the word no is delightfully amusing. I love that so far he is turning out to be my own little Dennis. He may push us away when we try to give us kisses and not seem to care much for us when there are things to see and explore but that just shows me we did something right as he clearly feels more then secure in our love.

He is wonderful. Really truly wonderful. I love that I get to spend my days taking care of him. I honestly at this moment can't imagine doing anything else. Life is good.

Considering it is also Thanksgiving I thought I would throw out a few quick things I am thankful for.
-I am thankful for my mother. She is supremely awesome. Honestly you may think your mother is cool, and wonderful, and great but she probably does not even come close to mine. OK well she might but probably not :D
-All of my online and real life friends who have gone through many struggles but who have managed to get pregnant and in some cases have babies. I am SO thrilled for you all.
-My family. My husband. My son. Perfection.


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

I've been busy these past few weeks. Thankfully I have little moments like this to help make every day a good one.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ooh lemons

In some ways Teddy is a very relaxed, stress free baby.
Like when it comes to eating.

Keeping in line with many parents before us, Thomas and I did the "give your baby a lemon test" this weekend. The results were not surprising.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We have movement!

As is probably apparent by now, I love my son. I love spending time with him, and I love that I get to stay at home with him.

However.

The past weeks I have been ready for bedtime.... oh about 10 minutes after he has woken up. Why you ask?

Because for the past few weeks Teddy has been trying to move. Trying to crawl. Trying to get to all the enticing outlets, sharp edges, and whatever other inappropriate "toys" have sparked his interest. Unfortunately Teddy is a bit chunky. And not that clever when it comes to gross motor skills apparently.

He has spent the past weeks pushing as hard as he can with his arms, and kicking his legs, but absolutely refusing to try to put his knees on the ground to help push himself forward. This led to a lot of backwards movement. This also led to one very frustrated baby.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbyXkrP0BUo

Some babies joyfully learn new skills, trying over and over until it works with a smile on their face.
Not Teddy. After a 10 second try, Teddy was loudly protesting, and then when that didn't work, crying.

I tried to distract him, but he didn't want to do something else, he wanted to crawl. Now. Well actually he wants to walk but that is a different post.

After lots of naked time, time with other babies,and sheer frustration and determination, Teddy finally managed to move forward. He did a sort of caterpillar/army crawl and the first time was actually crying the whole time because he didn't realize he was moving forward.This was 2 days ago and things have greatly improved.

He is still fussy because he realizes that this caterpillar crawl isn't efficient and I don't think he has yet realized that he can use it to just move forward as so far he always uses it to get something out of his reach. But it is a first step.



I'm so so proud!!! I mean I can't even imagine the frustration of knowing you can somehow move but not being able to figure it out. And then to top it off being surrounded by all these idiots who for some reason won't just pick you up and walk you wherever you obviously need to go. It is just so exciting for me to watch him slowly learn these new skills. It is really amazing all the things that babies have to learn and it does make me very proud of him...

.....and really pleased that the whining has been reduced by about 50 percent.As I won't lie, he was starting to drive me a little crazy :D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 Months!


I’ve been a mom for 7 months now and lately it has really hit me how much I love this. How much I love my son. How much I love my husband. How lucky I am to have this amazing family. That all sounds so trite when I put it down to “paper” and I don’t know if it is even possible to explain the feelings of awe, fulfillment and pleasure I get from watching my baby grow and become his own little person. 

He is becoming so aware of everything going on around him and he has such a personality. He giggles because he finds something amusing which is just so cool. He has his own little sense of humor and he is constantly making my husband and I laugh. I mean who doesn’t let out at least a little guffaw when watching a fat little baby play with a plastic bag like it is the coolest most worthwhile thing ever.

He loves the time I spent on decorating his room.  I know this because he can spend 20 minutes (which for him is a looong time) just hanging out in there and taking it all in. Every time he sees the window curtains his eyes go all big and round and he delights in touching them. He also delights in trying to pull the overhead changing table heater down which seems to be a bit of a safety concern but thankfully dad installed that and not me, increasing the safety by a 1000%.  

He loves to eat and tries to use the spoon himself. He isn’t very good at it yet. (Mom speak for he sucks. Seriously that kid has poked his eye and gagged himself multiple times with his baby spoon). But he absolutely delights in “doing it himself” and I don’t mind at all. I’m just thankful dishwashers and washing machines exist.

I see in little ways that slowly but surely my little baby is turning into a toddler. In some ways this is sad as this really is all so wonderful. I mean wonderful in a, I break out in tears often just thinking about him, and how much I love him, and how happy he makes me, wonderful- and it is scary to think about those feelings just expanding as he continues to grow. I mean everyone says it just keeps getting better and I wonder how is that even possible? It is already so, so good. However I also am excited for what is to come. 

I'm especially excited for him to figure out crawling as right now he just does this weird push up movement that pushes himself backwards which really pisses him off. So he spends a lot of the day pushing himself back into a corner/under a table/ against a wall,and crying. This was really getting to me so I ended up buying him a walker which he loves. If he could he would spend the whole day standing (with help obviously) so the walker is pure bliss for him. After two day he has already figured it out enough to get into lots of trouble- keys pulled out of drawers, chairs knocked over, books pulled out of shelves LOL. He only gets about 20 minutes twice a day in the walker so that he doesn't get too lazy about crawling but it is a nice change of pace to hear squeals of amusement instead of cries of frustration.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Feeding habits

I recently purchased the book Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter. It seems to be sort of a feeding bible for many and since it had gotten really good reviews from a lot of different people I thought I would check it out. It was written by a nutritionist and psychotherapist, and has been revised a few times. It is dense but I am really enjoying it so far.

The main idea of it is that we as the parents are responsible for the when, where, and what of feeding whereas Teddy is responsible for how much and whether.

I love this idea as I have never understood food battles and I really want all of my children growing up with healthy food habits.

She goes very in depth with how the transition from breast/formula to table food should go and for the most part we are on the right track. She suggests transitioning over to table foods relatively quickly once purees have been introduced and not getting stuck with purees for too long- she also encourages letting the child feed himself if they show interest, which Teddy definitely has.

So I have started letting Teddy feed himself more for at least one meal a day. It is such a disgusting mess. Thankfully I am not at all sensitive about stuff like that but my husband is definitely not feeding him when he does it himself anytime soon. She also says how important it is for him to eat what we are eating so I have started giving him things like strips of soft bread and anything else I think can easily dissolve in his mouth with a little gum chewing.

On the one hand it is fun to watch Teddy in an area where he seems to be progressing quite quickly but it is also bittersweet to realize he most definitely isn't a little baby anymore. Especially after he drinks a little from his cup, swipes the adult spoon I am holding and shoves it into his mouth with relish. By following his lead he just naturally transitioned to 3 meals a day with snacks so quickly that the days of long breastfeeding sessions are definitively over.

I just hope he holds off on the toddler-hood trait of rejecting different foods to assert independence a little bit longer!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baby Showers

I'm throwing a baby shower and considering the only baby shower I have ever been to was my own, I'm looking for some tips.

What are your favorite activities at baby showers?

What do you secretly hate?

What is a good order to do things?

Any tips are most welcome.

To keep this post from being the absolute opposite of fun, I've thrown in a nice little nonsensical picture story.

Teddy enjoys a healthy meal of dirty printed paper, which is probably full of cancer causing inks. Mom is just happy to take a break from his other favorite- dirty plastic bags.

Haha just try and take this from my moist chunky little fingers.

Oh no the random take-out menu has been ruined. Someone is in big trouble.

That is right buddy, you're going in the box.
Clearly your sitting skills still leave a lot to be desired :D
We'll stick with standing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

We're back ....

and we have hit some awesome milestones like....
wait for it....

Our first cold!!! Yeah! We all got sick in the U.S. and although Teddy is barely sick with the cold that we all had, his is lasting FOREVER. He is now going on week 3 of being sick. During the day we notice basically nothing but then at night he has a stuffy nose and sleeps terribly, and by terribly I mean up every 1-2 hours the whole darn night, terribly. Needless to say we are all hoping he gets better soon. The doctor checked him out and he doesn't have anything which would need treating like bronchitis, so I will just continue to give him homeopathic medicines (which I honestly believe do absolutely nothing) and hope that someday soon I can have a 5 hour stretch of sleep again.

The States were AWESOME though. We got to see grandma, who Teddy remembered and loved, meet my friends from school time, and spend time with my relatives.

Teddy also got to make some new friends in the form of my mom's cats. He loved them, maybe too much....
Teddy did not start crawling or rolling or anything else of that nature while we were there but he has now become insatiable when it comes to food. I mean the kid is close to getting tears in his eyes when we are eating if he can't have some too, or doesn't have his own food to eat. He was eating Gerbers natural babyfoods like it was some sort of baby crack- and everything else which we let him try; pickles, sno-cone, rolls, etc too bad the kid still doesn't have any teeth as it really limits what I can offer him.

But how could I forget his favorite treat, paper! If there is any sort of paper near him, he is on top of it, quickly shoving it into his mouth. I'm surprised by how quickly he can cause things to dissolve, newspaper is the worst but books, cards, restaurant menus, customs forms (they loved that!) have all been on his meal plan.

We all had a lovely time and the flights were OK. The flight coming in was rough just because some people near us never dimmed their lights so even though Teddy should have been sleeping for at least 4 of the 8 1/2 hours to Minnesota he slept 1 hour which was in 2 30 minute increments. The rest of the time he was wide awake and needed to be entertained. On the way back he slept 6 hours though and it was solely due to the fact that the plane was dark. It was bliss! He was a great traveler though and quite a few people commented on it. Almost no tears were shed and we, the parents, were able to get through it with such aplomb that the next flight is already booked. Although I will be traveling alone with him for that one and I am dreading it just a teeny bit.

Shopping was a big part of our America trip. Teddy is in 18 months, 24 months, or 2T depending on the brand and the clothing article. Unfortunately these clothes are made for older children who are moving of their own accord so they are often much too tight in the waist. Until he slims down a bit he is going to be wearing a lot of fleece pants and overalls. Sigh.

Now we are happy to be back in rainy, cold Germany and looking forward to the next 6 months of Teddy's first year of life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'll be back

We are leaving for our first trip to the States with little Teddy next Friday. I have been very busy getting everything ready, preparing (mentally LOL), and trying to enjoy the last days here in Germany as well. I only get to see my mother 1-3 times a year so as you can imagine, I am very, very excited. She was here when Theo was 6 weeks and I know she is going to be so amazed by how much he has grown and by the fact that he does in fact do more things then cry now :D

Considering that this trip is relatively short (2 1/2 weeks) I am going to really try and enjoy every minute and that for me means taking a break from Hetta Hoo.

So I will "see" you all when I get back in October. Hopefully with some fun new updates and pictures.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Theodor and Chairs

A photo montage consisting of two priceless pictures. Behold, the oldest little boy in the world. No, he does not smile. Ever.

I feel the need to add that this first picture is not taken in our house. If you think that chair looks like it belongs to a person harking from a different generation, you would be right.

He is a little over 3 months in the first picture and 5 months in the second. I love that besides increasing in body mass absolutely nothing has changed.

Will this be his photo expression forever? I can only hope so.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bad Mommy Confession, Number 1

My first bad mommy confession here on Hetta Hoo.

Pacifiers. No not that I use them, honestly if you think that is enough for a bad mommy confession, you probably shouldn't be reading this blog.

No, my confession is that I rarely ever sterilize them. In fact I have even take a pacifier out of the packaging and inserted it directly into the squealing little guy's mouth. No 5 minutes of boiling, nothing. At the time it seemed like an emergency but I know for some women there is no excuse.

Besides barely ever remembering to throw them in the dishwasher or sterilizer, I also carry them in whatever I have handy; a pocket, my (probably dirty) hand, diaper bag (and not in its own special hygenic container), you get the idea.

When they fall on the ground do you know what I do?
Blow on it, brush it with my hand, and then plop it back in his mouth. In extreme cases I might even suck on it once in place of water. But as a friend pointed out, my mouth is one of the most germy places of all, so clearly more harm then good.

And you know what makes this a real bad mommy confession? I don't feel bad, not one little bit.

Friday, August 27, 2010

5 Months

Theodor is 5 months today and he can do... uhm wait for it...something big is coming.... OK fine, Theodor is 5 months today and he can do... not much.

Don't get me wrong I'm as proud a mama as the best of them but even I have my limits. Eating isn't a skill, looking around a lot -observantly- while an improvement from staring at white walls is probably not going to show up on any of the "Your baby can now do this" email updates, and having the world's best pout and not being afraid to show it off anytime, anywhere, while highly amusing for the parents is probably also not something which will be asked about at the next doctors appointment.

I was hoping to have a tooth to brag about because A) He has been teething for over 5 weeks and it would be great if a tooth would decide to show up B) A certain unnamed person is constantly commenting that babies don't get teeth before 6 months. Even though I have explained over and over again that there is a range of time when babies first teeth pop, for some as early as 4 months and some as late as 9 months and it is all normal and the doctor did in fact confirm that Theodor is teething and it could happen anytime, this person refuses to believe it and continues to harp on the 6 month thing. So of course me in all my maturity was really hoping to proudly open up Theo's mouth to show off a gigantic baby tooth in all its glory before 6 months.But alas it is not to be.

So instead of the "my 5 month old can" checklist  I thought I would just throw out a few things which have amused me in the last weeks.

- While waiting for a bus on a busy industrial type street- you know the kind: almost a highway, ugly, loud, honking often; Theodor was mesmerized! He kept throwing out his little baby words, cooing, and smiling. We had to wait 15 minutes and he was happy to just stare at all the cars passing by the whole time. I was kind of shocked, especially since my midwives probably would have died at the thought of my baby being accosted by such extreme stimuli.

- We do a lot of baby classes and even though loud noises still don't bother him, now when other babies cry Theodor gets a sad look on his face, a big lip quiver, then pouts and also starts to cry. It's adorable.

-Theodor has started not falling right back asleep after a nursing session in the middle of the night. Since his room is right next to ours I can hear him talking to himself and if I peek through the crack I can sometimes see him rolling from side to side or taking his baby blanket and spreading it over his head (he can breathe through it and he doesn't leave it there) or grabbing at the bars with his hand. We have a darkening shade in his room so he can barely see anything. I'm quite impressed by his ability to stay awake even with the lack of anything interesting going on.  He has managed 45 minutes of "night playtime" although thankfully 10-15 seems to be the norm. I'm not always sure how long it lasts because if he is not crying and seems fine I normally just fall back asleep.

-He loves "reading" the warning signs on each side of his car-seat. He sees those things every few days but apparently they hold amazing baby secrets which adults can not understand because he finds the small black and white text fascinating.

-He is so vocal. He probably gets this from me as my mom used to say that once I came out I never stopped Haha mom, good one. But I must admit that I am not one of those moms who can do a play by play of what she is doing the whole day, I try but often end up just putting music on and then saying the occasional sentence every few minutes. If we are out or the husband is home he mainly is forced to just listen to me talk to other adults. I know terrible right?

videoI've added a little video clip I made this morning, and even though he can't read this I do want to thank Theodor for making each month better then the last:)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The nightshirt

I was too lazy to grab a bib before feeding Theodor his awesome lunch of mixed pureed veggies so I grabbed an old nightshirt of mine.

Clearly Theodor had been waiting for this moment. His expression is awe inspiring. I love the juxtaposition of baby Mickey Mouse Characters and Teddy's grim expression. He looks like he is going into battle. This picture is just all kinds of awesome and I wanted to share.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deception

I lied. I deceived you all. For that I am sorry.
You see I said that my son was all smiles. Pure giggles and laughter, now that he was four months (almost 5 sniff sniff) and well rested.

Well that wasn't the complete truth.

You see according to a nameless figure in our life who shall remain nameless he is also serious... and still a bit fussy.
One of this persons favorite comments is, "Was hat er denn?"
Which directly translated means- What does he have? but in context means, "Why is he fussing again?? What is wrong with him? Why isn't he content to lay on a blanket with no human interaction while we eat coffee and cake?"

I don't think Theodor is serious. He is observant and loves looking around but just about anyone with a high pitched sing-songy voice can immediately get him to laugh or smile so no I don't think he is serious. But fussy, just a bit high-maintenance.... perhaps.

You see he has it all figured out. Sure laying on his stomach and pushing himself up with his arms will eventually give him the strength to crawl forward and see the whole world in all its glory (which I am guessing for him involves a lot of opening of drawers) but you know what works at this very moment which requires no strength whatsoever?

Whimpering, sticking out his bottom lip and starting to cry like a little baby who has never in all his life received a hug or a kiss, it has to be very very pitiful or it doesn't work as well- as the parents may just change the position he is in. Thinking (wrongfully of course) that he just wants to lay a bit differently or wants to go from stomach to back. However crying like he is the saddest little boy on this planet enables him to immediately be picked up and get an awesome first class view of everything going on around him.
To which he says to the other little babies laying on their stomachs, working towards a goal.
Suckers!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm an Idiot!

So how do like the new design? The last few posts? Any comments?? Seriously couldn't one person at least say, looks good? Sigh.

Oh wait, What is that you say? You can't comment. Really?

Well let me just fix that for you. Comments now work, just click and type away. Thanks so much for cluing me in to this Alyssa- I was clueless!

All over.

It's over. The nursing strike is over and has been since Saturday. It is like it never happened. The little stinker. Freaking mommy out for 5 days and then acting like there is nothing better then mama's milk. A few good things did come from this;

1. I met an awesome new midwife who gave me great advice that fit so well with my sort of crunchy lifestyle. Instead of going for either extreme (another lactation consultant and my pediatrician took care of those viewpoints for me) she told me she thinks it is great that Teddy is eating solids, and sometimes gets a bottle, and that he is fine. She said it might happen a few more times in his life but to not worry about it, continue doing what I have been doing and he'll come back to the breast. She was right, and SO sweet. She is going freelance and I liked her so much that I want her to be my midwife whenever baby number 2 happens. Which is pretty cool as all the midwives who had anything to do with Teddy's birth and my aftercare are women who I most definitely do not want having any part in my next pregnancy.

2. I am enjoying breastfeeding even more then I was before, which was quite a bit! I just love it. Especially when he is a bit tired so he closes his eyes and makes these contented little noises and smiles, and ooh I could keep going but I won't.

3. I now have crazy oversupply. These things are on the ready all the time. This has been fun for me as apparently spraying my husband in the face repeatedly from long range just doesn't get old for me. It also has allowed me to relax and realize that when Teddy isn't into it, it is because he isn't hungry not because he isn't getting enough, quickly enough.

Thanks for the encouragement last week everyone, it meant a lot!

Friday, August 20, 2010

White Bread

Germany is a land known for its breads, rolls, and bakeries. Dinner here is even called Abendbrot = Evening Bread, and traditional families do in fact eat bread with meats and cheeses for dinner.

I think this picture sums up what I think about that. Try to ignore the delightful boy who for once isn't frowning for the camera and zoom in on the bread.


That is crustless white bread.  I think I am the only person who buys it. I mean most people here don't even buy bread at the grocery store.

I love the stuff. I love that is has absolutely no nutritional value, is soft and squishy, it is Germany so it doesn't have preservatives but you can't have everything in life. I love that as an adult I no longer have to pretend to like crusts just because they are good for me.

Of course I know I could buy normal bread and cut the crusts off but then I feel like I am wasting. While I am sure the company does exactly the same thing, maybe they feed the excess crusts to unicorns, or use them to create cheap building materials- clearly the sky is the limit when it comes to crust possibilities.

Teddy of course will never be allowed this bread. He'll have to suffer through grainy bread with nuts and oat flakes and icky crusts, just like I did.Only then can you truly appreciate the white bread goodness. Besides growing bones need healthy nutrient full food,which you only get in whole grain bread ... and most especially the crusts. Well that is what I'll say at least.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who knew a dark room could be so interesting?

Hmmm, I think I might be a bit hungry,ooh there is mom and I don't think she has a shirt on, ooh wait, what is that?
I think some shadows just moved near the window, ugh what is this thing in my face?- I think she just tried to squirt milk in my mouth. What a wierdo- doesn't she see that I'm concentrating on this awesome- ooh there is my mobile, man I love that thing, I think if I really strain my eyes I can just see the outline of it, oh wait, what was that? Speaking of straining why in the world is it so dark in here, it makes it so much harder to see everything although I think right up there is some sort of uhmm hmm, what is that?
Oh wait I am pretty sure I heard something in the opposite direction, what is going on over there... What is up with this woman shoving her boob in my face,doesn't she see that I am busy here??
Oh wait there is her face, quick smile to let her know I still think she is great, or should I scream and arch my back instead as I really need some more space to look around, what was she even doing in here anyway...
Ow, ow,my mouth hurts, I am just going to bite the next thing in my mouth, ugh it is so soft no fun for biting on,get it out! cooh grghh, hey what was that? Oh my gosh, I think that was me! Cool! Coooh, gghg, cooh, wow I could do this all night. I'm glad she is laying me back down as I am on a roll...


So we are on day 3 of the nursing strike and seem to have found a way to at least get through this thing. I no longer think supply is an issue, I still have a fast letdown and I can hear him getting lots of milk when he feels so inclined to try. Although I will continue to pump 2 or 3 times a day just to make sure my supply stays up for as long as this lasts.


He is still having lots of wet diapers and I haven't increased his solids but I haven't cut them out either as I don't think either of those possibilities is the solution here. Before this strike he wasn't even receiving solids every day, and never more then half a jar and always after a nursing session, but he really likes to eat so it seems mean to me to cut it out. I also don't feel comfortable with the thought of him hungry and in pain due to teething so I have still been giving him his pacifier when he wants it (although he often spits it out or just chews on it).


So far I am having the most success with nursing him half asleep, so I have been waking him from naps a few minutes early. At night cradling him in my arms while standing and swaying has worked well enough to get him to nurse for 10 to 20 minutes although I have had to do quite a few side changes, which is fine. I also was able to get a great 20 minute session in after PEKiP yesterday which helped to reaffirm to me that this is just a phase. So I did manage to get about 4 to 5 good nursing sessions in in a 24 hour period and I am comfortable with that. He is sleeping 5 hour stretches at night and I am not willing to wake him up any earlier then that as he needs his sleep and I know he will let me know if he is hungry, as I go in right away and always try to nurse him whenever he wakes up in the middle of the night.


I sort of freaked out yesterday and started sobbing as it is quite an emotional thing to have your baby reject the breast, especially when it has never happened before, but reading all of your comments and tips (Thanks so much everyone!) and reading at other sources online has helped me realize this is just a little phase most likely due to a combination of teething and more awareness of the world around him, and that it will pass. I also need to remember that before this strike he was not nursing every hour nor did he want to and I shouldn't be surprised when he gets a bit annoyed with my trying to get him to nurse constantly. So I have eased back and am trying not to offer more frequently then every 2 hours, as I really want him to feel like everything is normal and not make a big deal out of it.


I was already doing many of the things before which encourage a positive nursing relationship. We take a bath together almost every day, I try to nurse him in his room with the darkening shades down a few times a day, I sing or speak to him in a low calming voice (this has recently also become a distraction -sigh-), I almost never have a shirt on in the middle of the night, TMI??, Well too late now LOL, and I have no problems nursing in public or offering it in public. I am just going to keep on doing what I have been doing and hope this is over before the hubby goes away for a week starting this Sunday night.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nursing Strike???

Teddy is teething and has not been too interested in nursing the past few days. I didn't pay much attention to that fact as he just has not been interested in nursing that much since hitting 4 months. He was still having lots of wet diapers and I thought he was nursing enough but now I am not sure.

As he now has twice refused to go on the breast at all. I just tried pumping and got basically nothing and now I am freaking out. My supply must really have dropped in the past days as I couldn't even get an ounce. I gave him half a jar of plum and pear just because I don't want him to feel too hungry but I have been trying to get him to latch on every two hours and he just won't.

Does anyone have any tips? I'm drinking nursing tea again and ate oatmeal for lunch.I'm also pumping on each side for 10 minutes every hour but nothing is coming out which is making me depressed and of course worried about supply.I'm committed to making this work as I know babies don't naturally wean before a year,and if I give him his homeopathic teething tablets right before nursing he will sometimes latch on for about 30 seconds, making me think it is really related to teething.

Sleep and Teddy = Oil and Water part III

You can read part I here and part II here.

I went through all the books again, talked about it at length with Thomas and my doctor, and we decided we would try to let him cry for short periods of time and see where it took us. The first night was awful. He shrieked like a banshee and I was pretty sure if it was possible to destroy a mother child bond in a night I had just done it. We checked on him every five to ten minutes and after about an hour he was out. However he woke up again quite often that night and although he did sleep some longer stretches I still wasn’t sure if this was the right path for us. We had decided to give it 5 days so we plowed ahead.

Each day got better and the change happened so fast. We never had another night like the first. We also were able to customize our plan to suit our son. Both my husband and I came up with soothing strategies that only took a minute or two but calmed him right down. We also started doing checks more often, every 3-5 minutes if he sounded angry. We found that by doing this he never really got too angry and often was asleep within fifteen minutes. I still nursed him on demand up until 10pm and then would just soothe him if he had nursed within the past 3 hours.

Now a few weeks later we almost never have any crying whatsoever. We do our bedtime ritual and put him in his bed. He grabs at his blanket looks around and within five minutes he is asleep. He only wakes when he is hungry and would like to eat. Although recently I do think a bit of teething got in the way but that still just led to two extra wakings in which we snuggled him nice and tight for a minute put him back down and then he was out.

He has now managed a 10 hour stretch (although I am perfectly happy with a 3-5 hour stretch- I let him lead the way, if he wakes, he gets fed/comforted, and if not, well then I enjoy the extra winks) and he is so well rested. The best part is how much happier he is. Most mornings I get a cooing little guy from his crib and then get to enjoy a smiley happy baby with energy until he goes down for bed at 6 or 7. I love it. I love how much this has made a difference in all of our lives.

I know that in those first hard days I did not ruin our bond or teach him not to trust me or call out for me. I know he just needed that little push to figure out how to fall back asleep without any help. It was like he had been begging me all that time to just help him get some more sleep and now that he was finally able to, all was right with the world.

I also know that this path isn’t right for everyone or every baby and I do wish that we had never even had to consider it. But I don’t regret or feel ashamed for one minute that we took this route. It was the right one for us and I truly believe that it was one which involved much less tears then if we had continued on as we did.

In my circles here in “the real world” this is something that almost no one talks about and I wanted to share my experience. I hope I haven’t alienated some of the mummies too much who I know took a very different path.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sleep and Teddy = oil and water? part II

You can read part I here.

When you look at a sleeping baby there is pretty much no way not to go all gooey inside and get a big goofy grin on your face.

When you look at a baby screaming in your face who you have spent the last three hours bouncing on a ball and singing and talking to, it is pretty impossible to feel nice feelings at all.

I used to get so incredibly angry at this little person in our lives. I was doing everything in my human power to appease him and it still wasn’t enough. Didn’t he know how hard I was trying, what did he want from me? I get tears just thinking about it now because it was so so hard. I don’t think words can express how helpless I felt and how hard every day was to just barely eke through. We were surviving. That is it. Survival.

I read books, we met with our pediatrician multiple times, we even went to a sleep therapist. We were doing everything “right”. Trying to limit wake times, lots of fresh air in the sling, nice relaxing massages and baths, he slept in my arms, and still he would spend the better part of every night crying hysterically. Nursing no longer appeased him so I would sit in the dark in the living room and walk and bounce until eventually exhaustion would set in and he would sleep for at least an hour or two. I wasn’t asking for much, maybe just three hour stretches and a baby who would fall asleep in less than an hour and not cry all the time.

I had heard about cry it out and knew all the different opinions. Babies need attachment and their needs to be responded to, babies need closeness, babies can’t be spoiled- and I believed and still do, all of it.

At about 16 weeks Theodor reached a point where he started to kick me and scream every hour, this was a low point even for us and I decided that nothing could be worse then what we were doing.

So we took a big step and never looked back...

More coming in part III of Sleep and Teddy = oil and water?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sleep and Teddy = oil and water?

Sleep is such a huge issue when it comes to parenting. I honestly, and naively never really thought about it before Theodor graced the world with his presence. Then I spent about 3 1/2 months thinking about nothing else, because surprise surprise, I wasn't getting any.

Now I still think about sleep but normally these thoughts are accompanied by feelings of pride, happiness, and enjoyment that can only occur when getting chunks of sleep that are longer then an hour or two.

I love that my son actually has a bedtime and nap times now. Sure they are flexible based on how much sleep he has gotten so far in the day but before these were terms which just had no place in our lives.
Every day was a big fat question mark that quite honestly filled me with fear.
Would he sleep at all? How long would it take him to fall asleep at night? Would he cry for hours in my arms? Would he be happy when he was awake or miserable? Would I be able to get him to sleep even an hour not in my arms? Would he ever sleep more then an hour or two?
Would I make it through the day???

I now wake up every morning more or less refreshed and these questions don't even go through my head. Everything is so much better in ways I didn't even let myself imagine before because I just never ever thought we would get to this place.

Next Post: How I got to this place.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I just have to say...

I just have to say...
that I love this.

I love being a mom. I love my son. I love my family of three.

It is so, so much more then I could have imagined or planned for and it is perfect that way.

My heart often feels like it is bursting at the seams it is so full. I am so thankful that I have been blessed with all of this. I try to cherish every moment.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The *b* word :)

Honestly I never really got why people get so passionate about breastfeeding. Sure it is a great thing to do for your baby but
A) Doesn't everyone already know this
and
B) Doesn't everyone at least try to breastfeed

That is what I thought until I read how few Americans actually breastfeed. I live in a country where 91% of the women breastfeed so I really believe it is a non-issue here. Everyone knows that it is healthy and the people who don't breastfeed have a good reason for not doing so. Nursing in public is commonplace and no one bats an eye.

I never thought too much about breastfeeding before the baby came. I read a short book on it but knew I would just need people to show me if the latch was correct, etc.

I think the time involved came as a shock to me, as I just wasn't used to spending 45 minutes or even longer every hour or two feeding a baby. I didn't really have any pain, and Theodor latched on amazingly from the start. I basically just had to put him anywhere in the vicinity of my boob and he went down to business.But the first weeks it was really hard for me to always need to be the one feeding him and I had a permanent spot on the couch where I would read books and watch movies and TV series as Teddy nursed away.

Now of course 4 months later I miss that time!! I can't get Teddy to nurse for much more then 10 minutes now and he isn't interested even half as often as he used to be. He is still gaining tons but he clearly has figured out how to expedite the process. Which is a normal occurrence for babies as they get older.

I love the time spent breastfeeding him now and plan to breastfeed at least 1-2 years, although at a year I don't think I would do more then a morning and good night feed. I love breastfeeding and I think if more women had good help in the beginning and stuck with it for the hard initial first few weeks that the breastfeeding rates would go much higher. But I don't think that is the main issue which keeps American women from breastfeeding to 3/6/9/12+ months.

I think the biggest issue keeping women from breastfeeding in the States is the lack of paid maternity leave. Here in Germany we receive 1-2 years paid leave and have all the time in the world to get the hang of breastfeeding. We also never have to deal with pumping if we don't want to. Personally I hate to pump and I imagine that if I had needed to go back to work I would have switched to formula during the day because pumping is so time consuming, and I completely understand when other women make that choice. Our time is precious.

I'll end this with my number one tip for breastfeeding.
In the first weeks breastfeed your baby as long as (s)he wants and as often as (s)he wants.
That's it. It sounds easy but you would be surprised how many people will try to tell you that anything more then 15/20/insert random number here minutes isn't necessary and isn't helping that baby or you- you're just giving yourself sore breasts, and how hard it can be in the first weeks to completely give all your time over to the baby. But it really works.

Due to Theodor's jaundice, being in the hospital and my milk not coming in until day 5 Teddy lost over 10% of his starting birth weight. It was probably closer to 15%. He had been receiving an infusion so he was lazy at the breast and it just didn't look good. But he loved to nurse so I let him nurse all day and all night and within a week he had regained his birth weight and has been steadily gaining ever since, now he is at close to 18 pounds and it is crazy to me that my small (barely Bs!) have done that. That is all me.

Finally a little photo walk through my breastfeeding journey. Birth-->First Weeks-->Now




If you can do it in a gondola, you can do it anywhere ;) So for any mamas just starting out, it gets easier!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

4 months

Theodor is now 4 months and the feelings of love I have for him are immense. I am so happy that he is part of our family and that I get to be his mother. He is absolutely amazing and I am still in awe that he has only been with us for 17 weeks. I can no longer imagine my life without him.

In some ways I am happy that he was fussy and difficult and sometimes still is. He forced me to put all of my energy into him and that brought us together in a way which might not have happened if I had been able to put him down during the first months of his life.

Now things have changed. He is getting bigger and loves to interact with the world around him. He is rolling constantly from back to stomach and then kicking his little legs as hard as he can in the hope that it will get him somewhere.

He also giggles. His giggle is the most wonderful thing to listen to. He is just so happy when he does it that you can't help but feel the same. He loves to giggle when we fly him over our stomachs as an airplane. He also loves to giggle when we make certain noises. It is too too cute.

Solids are a big hit.Pumpkin is his favorite and yesterday he ate almost a whole jar of pumpkin and potato. I didn't think he would get the hang of it so soon. I've already picked out an awesome highchair to order as it looks like it is time.

Theodor also makes me honor and appreciate my mother even more then I did before. I am alone with Theodor for 12-14 hours a day most days and I so look forward to the break I get when I can hand him off for a little bit to my husband. My mom is a single parent and never had that. I honestly can't imagine dealing with all of the frustration, tiredness, elation, excitement, fear and the myriad of other emotions that come with parenting alone. She is truly my role model in all of this.
I just love my family so much and feel so lucky to have them. My life is truly wonderful right now.

Classes

I am one of those moms who loves baby classes. I often find myself at a loss for ideas after an hour alone with Teddy and the classes give me great ideas and a good reason to leave the house.

We do,
Baby massage- Teddy thinks it is boring, as admittedly do I- although I am pleased he doesn't cry the whole time like some of the babies.

Pekip-
(prager eltern kind program) A parent and baby class where the babies are naked! It follows the baby through their first year and is really wonderful. We both love it.
Moth
er and baby fitness for after birth- This is helping me get back in shape after the baby, but it focuses on exercises to help the pelvic floor, not my saggy stomach. Teddy likes being with the other babies, and it is fun to watch them become more and more aware of each other. I like spending time with other moms and slowly getting back into shape.

Baby Swim- This starts in August and since Theo seems to love water I think he will really like it.
We also will be doing some music and movement classes in the fall as well.

One of my favorite parts of the classes is getting to spend time with so many other babies as well. They are all so unique and it is fun to compare (in a nice good way!), commiserate, and see what I have to look forward to. Also fun to find out that Teddy is very vocal for his age. He coos and makes lots and lots of adorable little noises like he is talking with us. None of the other babies at my classes are that vocal yet which just shows me that I have the most special unique snowflake of all. LOL :D :D

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Food!

We started with parsnips... man do those things taste terrible. Teddy wasn't impressed. I think I will do pumpkin next as that at least has some flavor.



But the goal right now is just for him to get familiar with the spoon and all that jazz so it doesn't matter that he ate less then a baby spoonful.
In Germany they recommend starting with veggies at 4 months. They used to encourage waiting until 6 months but the allergy rates didn't decrease so now they are back at 4 months. Teddy is 17 and a half pounds now and clearly wants to be eating with us so I am happy to start slowly introducing purees and porridges.



He also loves to drin
k water from a little cup. He sticks his tongue in and laps at it like a dog LOL. I'm hoping that he will be able to really eat purees for one meal a day in about a months time. I'll let you all know how it goes:)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stinky feet


Teddy has them.

Once Thomas and I were standing by the bed wondering what in the world could smell so strong. Turns out someone was sock free.

Not only are they stinky they are also cold, clammy and moist most of the time. Apparently this is a genetic thing and some babies luck out so to speak when it comes to the feet lottery.

Of course they are still the most adorable things ever.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Man boobs


Teddy has them:)

He also has the most adorable chubby kissable thighs and legs ever.


You may notice the sposie diaper- all his cloth diapers are too small and I can't buy new ones till we are in the States in September.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a brand that does a good fit for plump babies? I had a mix of newborn diapers but never really had enough time to figure out a favorite brand/type. Although I do know I would prefer AIOs.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My mom

My mom was here for 18 days and Teddy loved her from the start.

She got a whole lot of these from him.

And was also patient enough to bounce him on the exercise ball for an hour just to get him to fall asleep.


She also didn't mind listening to him scream in the car, since he, like a few other little babies I know, HATES HIS CARSEAT. We've done two 3 hour trips and at least 50% of those trips have been him crying. Someone is comforting him the whole time, he is fed on the hour, etc- but he just doesn't like the thing and if he isn't asleep he is pissed! And my mom never complained once even though his screaming can be more then a little tiring to listen too.

My mom's visit was amazing and really helped me get through Teddy's peak fussy weeks.

I feel like I have a new baby now. He is smiling all the time and even giggling. He loves looking around and today for the very first time ever he fell asleep not in someones arms!!!

Thank you mom for being an amazing role model and mother to me. I wish we lived closer to one another but I appreciate that you support me so completely in my life here in Germany. Theodor is so lucky to have you for a grandmother. I love you.