Right; Change of Plans

Chloé 4 Month Old

So, I’m not going to do monthly updates anymore.

Honestly, with baby and work it’s just too difficult for me to form 10 thoughts that make sense. I’m hoping not having the timeline hanging over me will help me post more. (We shall see…)

Gosh, so much has happened since we last chatted. Let me sum up.

Clo’s still sleeping like a champ. I’ve literally gotten to the point that I just don’t talk to my mommy friends about sleep, because she is not the norm (and I really, REALLY don’t want the sleep to stop).

I’ve officially had like 10-20 people comment that she’s a “really amazingly good baby.” I’m hoping that I haven’t damaged her in some way. (And seriously, how messed up is it that when people say she’s unusually good I wonder if there’s something wrong?)

She had a crying fit at AJ’s and it was heartbreaking. It was absolutely the longest and hardest cry ever. MFH and I were distraught. AJ was like, “THIS is bad for you? No, this is not bad. You jerks are so lucky!”

Clo laughed for the first time last week at Piper doing her idiot whirling dervish routine. She’s become fascinated by the dog, and wants to see and touch her more and more. Piper, for her part, has become less shy around Clo – although she’s still super cautious/respectful of Chloé’s space.

As mentioned up top, I’m working again. 25 hours a week at my salary rate. Some weeks it’s alarmingly easy, other times it’s harder. A lot depends on my lovely little one.

At her four month check up, Clo was 50% for height (24.75″) and 15% for weight (12 lbs 8 oz). Doc was super pleased with both as she’s staying on her tracks, and gave us the okay to start her on solids. So far we’ve done Sweet Potatoes, Watermelon, Pineapple, Pear, Mango, and carrot. She’s starting to understand how to take the food into her mouth and swallow, but it’s still quite a messy progress. I’ll start to post recipes as we get a bit more fancy, but that’s a little ways off.

I’ve set up the YouTube channel for Made in Toronto. A bunch of videos are up, and I’m hoping to add something weekly going forward. Feel free to subscribe if that’s your sort of thing. 😉

And finally, because it’s adorable, I leave you with a shot of some of the babies that belong to our new mommy group. Enjoy the cuteness!

Baby Meet Up

Clo’s third from the right.



3 Month Roundup

Chloé 3 Month

So I’m obviously extremely behind on this. I have no excuses, really besides the obvious. It got to the point that I considered just putting month 3 and 4 together into one post, but had some time tonight and figured I might as well go for it.

I passed out of the fourth trimester as Chloé hit three months. By definition, she’s now an infant and not a newborn. It also happened to fall on Mother’s Day, which was pretty cool. Anyways, enough chatter, let me get on with things I’ve learned this month. (And a half.)

1. I Have a Really Good Baby
I donno that there are actually good/bad babies, so I’m mostly going on other peoples’ attitudes here. What makes a good baby? She smiles a lot, she sleeps, she’s not super quick to cry. (And when she does it’s usually easily handled.) She’s just the type of kid that makes people want to have more. Or so I’m told. I haven’t quite hit that marker yet.

2. Getting Out is 60% of My Success
You know what’s super boring? Staying in the living room of your house in front of the TV for weeks on end. For Clo, being so new to time and what not, she lasts about three hours before she’s had enough and needs a change of scene. We can go see family or friends, shop, or even just take a walk around the neighborhood. All of it’s fine, we just have to go. This going means that for the rest of the day, naps are on time and on par for required length. Meltdowns rarely happen anymore, and I think both of us enjoy being able to get out like real, live humans.

3. Always Bring a Back-up Outfit
I’ve done this from day one, but it’s only now that Chloé is bigger that I think it’s come in handy. If she has a diaper incident or is just super wet from drool, a change is always nearby. It’s just a zip up sleeper in my diaper bag, but it means I don’t have to transfer poo from her to me to our car to the car seat to whatever surface she sits on/lays on/goes near/touches. Definately a no-lose scenario.

4. Chloé Likes Me
This is the first month where I haven’t felt as if I’m mostly just for food. She is happy to see me (and MFH), and prefers to be settled by me if she’s upset. The smiling “conversations” we have throughout the day give me hope for the future. Like most people, I know how much relationships can evolve between a parent and his/her child over a lifetime. Still, it’s nice to know that, for now at least, I’m well liked.

5. Babies Adapt
It makes sense. Like, at some point we were nomadic people and our infants had to wonder around with us. Clo can go to sleep more or less anywhere, as long as her routine is followed. She changes as we do. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but it does work out eventually.

6. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
So I went into my office to discuss the game plan for me getting back into work officially. Unfortunately, things with the assistants having been so great in my absence, and there is a hope that I can go into the office twice a week to make sure they’re working up to par. I considered it, especially for when MFH is off work this summer. But then Chloé did something she hadn’t before or in a way she hadn’t before and I thought, no. I don’t want to miss these little huge moments of learning she has every single day. I don’t want to miss her learning and growing. Not even for two days a week.

7. Some People are Jerks
I heard a lot about nasty people and their comments while I was pregnant. I didn’t really get much of that, and what I did was easy to ignore. I was warned far more about post pregnancy and the nonsense people love to level at you and your new baby. And it’s also true, to a degree. Most people are lovely to me, but there are a few who want me to be miserable. “Clo sleeps through the night? Well, she won’t as soon as she hits the 4-month regression.” Maybe she will and maybe she won’t, but do you really have to say it with a smile on your face?

8. I Don’t Know How to Take a Compliment
In a way, I think this makes sense. It took me an alarmingly long time to take a compliment about myself. It follows that I don’t really know how to take a compliment about my kid. But that’s not really what’s at work here. When fellow new parents make a big deal about how cute or whatever she is, I don’t know what to say. Because in my head I’m just saying, “Yes, that’s correct she IS the most adorable.” Usually I just laugh uncomfortably or shrug it off as, “It’s just because she has hair.”

9. I’m a Different Person
Maybe this should be obvious, but it sort of occurred to me last night. I’m not the same person I was before I had Chloé. I have the same interests, of course. And it’s not like my core values have changed. But last night when my options were to stay up past 9:30p and have a drink and a chat with friends or got to bed. I went to bed. And it wasn’t even like, “oh, I better not stay up or I’ll be tired tomorrow.” It was literally a, “meh, I’m tired.” Even during pregnancy I’d stay up. I’ve changed. I’m a mom.

10. Cuddle Moments
The older she gets, the less Clo wants to be cuddled and held like a newborn. She wants to see and grab and interact. But, at least a couple times a day she lets me hold her warm, tiny body against my chest and I can just breath her in. Even after all of my experiences, the good to the bad, in those cuddle moments I feel like I’m living life to the fullest. Holding my perfect little love in my arms, everything stops and the world is right. I can’t describe it any other way.

Three (and a half) months past. I’m not really certain how we got here so fast, but man am I enjoying the ride.


I’m in that situation again where I’ve so much to cover and it’s just getting worse the longer I wait to write.
So, I’m going to try and skim over as much as I can and go on normally from there…

Easter was good. Saw both families. Clo was pretty good, but she wasn’t able to deal with all the people all day long. By the time we got home, she was super done and just wanted everyone to shut up and snuggle her.

We moved Chloé into her crib the weekend after Easter. It was not entirely without issue, although the issues were entirely my own. Even with the monitor, and her being literally next door to us, I was worried. I worried I wouldn’t hear her. I worried she’d not sleep as well in her crib as she had in her bassinet. I worried myself out of some really good sleep, since Clo stayed down for her typical 8-10 hours. We’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but in general she’s asleep in her crib by 9:30 and she’s up between 5 and 7.

LC visited from DC. It was awesome. She knows me so well, and my life and my family, that I talk about things and she just gets it all. It sucks that I don’t get to see her more, but I am so thankful for the time we get together. It was also kind of hilarious to see her with Chloé. LC is basically my polar opposite physically, and I think Clo really enjoyed the variety. The day after LC left, she sort of kept looking around me as if thinking, “Mom, where’s the tall blonde lady? She was fun, bring her back.” MFH always says this, but that doesn’t make it any less true: “Out of all the people we know [LC and her hubby], are the ones I wish could live closer.”

I’m no longer diabetic, so hooray for that. I knew it was 90-someodd percent likely that I would be free of it, but it was still nice to get the official outcome. I’m likely to get it again, if I’m ever pregnant again.

Clo can hear. I mean, I knew that, but Health Canada apparently likes to know as well. So officially, per Health Canada, she can hear.

I have New Mom Wrist. It’s annoying and actually hurts me periodically. I left it for a long time, because I kept thinking it would go away on its own. Now that I’ve been diagnosed, I’m trying to be super conscientious of how I’m holding Chloé. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I’m more concerned with just making her happy.

I can’t really wrap my head around being a Mom this Mother’s Day. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on it after the fact…

Wearing her curls this time 'round.

Wearing her curls this time ’round.


On Hair Loss (and Other Surprisingly Awesome Things)

This week I’ve started to lose my hair again. If you followed me from the beginning, you’ll know that my hair remaining on my head was one of the symptoms that lead me to believe I was pregnant. (I was right.)

It took me about fifteen years to realize I had great hair. Mostly, I just had no idea how to manage it. It’s wavy. That means I can straighten it without too much of an issue, and it holds a curl without hair spray. In fact I never used hair spray unless I was in a play. Now that they make hairspray to handle frizzing (that I can’t feel while it’s in my head), I use it occasionally. Regardless, I finally figured out how my hair “worked.” I manipulated it and used it. Sometimes great hair got me the attention I needed to get hired. Weird, I know, but that’s showbiz.

But I hated my hair while I was pregnant.

I know a ton of women who LOVE the hair they get when pregnant. I am super happy for them. (Although it’s a bummer that they have to be pregnant in the exchange.) I was not a fan. I think it might be because I have the hair those women get when their pregnant when I’m not pregnant. (Don’t worry, I’ve got a ton of items in the “con” column to balance everything out.) When I’m pregnant…at least this time when I was pregnant…I had far too much of my far too thick hair coming out of my head. I didn’t know what to do with it, or how to make it do what I needed it to do. It was not good. When I was pregnant I had moments when I wanted to be extra pretty. I needed my hair, but there was nothing I could do to get it back.

Now it’s falling out again. It’s starting to fall like it used to. I feel, in possibly the weirdest way, like I’ve got a bit of myself back. I think this is how “normal” women feel when they are able to fit into their pre-pregnancy skinny jeans.

Chloé is almost 10 weeks old. She’s been sleeping through the night for about 5 weeks. That also does amazing things for me. (Although I guess I’m superficial enough to say I’m not sure whether I’m happier about the sleep or the normal hair. Then again, if I wasn’t getting sleep…well, maybe I can appreciate my hair because both of my eyes are all the way open. :p)

I’ve completely thrown out all external information about babies and sleep. I don’t even think about getting Clo ready for bed before 9. This is working for us. Clo feeds a couple times, gets bounced a bit, and falls asleep. It is a very rare night when she’s down later than 10:30p. There’s no real fighting. She rarely wakes before 6am. I get 8 hours, plus or minus, of straight sleep and we don’t fight any more.

This schedule also means that I have a different diaper for day and night. Pampers Swaddlers for day and Pampers Baby Dry for night. Why the two? Well, Baby Dry works so, so well at absorbing lots of nighttime wetness. What it doesn’t do well (IMHO) is dealing with non-wettness diaper issues. Lot’s of poops up the back doesn’t work for anyone. For me, it meant I went about three days before buying Swaddlers for the daytime. If your questioning why Pampers at all, that’s easy. They worked for me. I had free newborn Swaddlers and free newborn Huggies Little Snugglers. I’ll spare you the details, but I still have about 40 newborn Huggies hiding at the back of my change table.

Also this week I went to see OB-R about family planning. I’d more or less decided on an IUD, but I wanted her opinions (both on the option itself and the differences between IUD options themselves). Given my history and the possible future situation of having another little one, we went with the hormonal IUD. I had the typical side-effects of cramping (although those waited until I was about a block away from her office before starting) and spotting. There’s a 99.9% chance that I will not get pregnant. Unless I take it out. Then my changes of getting pregnant go back to normal. OB-R specifically asked me to “tell all [my] friends” about IUDs and their easy/awesomeness. And now I have. 🙂

Last but not least, we’ve started using a pacifier. I didn’t even want to start, but she was having fits of inconsolable crying for over a week. I had a sample of a silicone NUK, so I tried. She had it in her mouth for two minutes, and for the next four hours she was happy and content. It also makes outings and car rides super easy. I don’t know if she’s teething (or pre-teething) or what, but during the day, while it helps her I’ll use it. (She’s still sleeping fine without it.) As my grandmother said, “You can control it. And if it helps, it helps.”

So there we are. I’m about to put Clo in her Easter finery while we go off to our families’ gathering. I’ll tell you all about it later.

Chloé @ 9 weeks

Finally smiling after days of crankering.






Over-thinking Things

Last time I brought up a question. Mostly because I felt like I was in an either/or situation. Now I’m wondering if that’s the case at all.

For the last five days Clo has slept through the night in a stretch of 7 to 8 hours. I feel about as well rested as I did before I had her. (Maybe not as well rested as I was before I got pregnant, but we must be thankful for what we have…)

The earliest I’ve been able to get her to start that 7-8 hour stretch so far has been 10:30pm. But I’m starting to feel like that doesn’t matter.

I had a talk with my grandfather this morning about it. I mentioned that most people say to have babies asleep by 7pm. His response, “If you want her down at 7 and up at 7, that’s twelve hours. That’s not fair. I think 10 to 6 is pretty darn good.”

This from a man who has six children, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. I feel like I’ve been over-thinking this.

Maybe it’s the days of solid sleep, but I feel like I’ve got a new sense of clarity today. I want to be the best mom I can be, and over-thinking everything isn’t the way to do that.

It’s not like I’m under the delusion that this is the last time I freak out about a parenting option. I’m sure there will be many times down the road when I’ll over-think and over-question. But that’s okay.

And that’s the point.

I don’t know what I’m doing. None of us do. We all have different kids and we all were different kids ourselves. Yet somehow we figure it out. Because of or in spite of our parents, we grew up. We had kids of our own. And now we have to be parents ourselves.

So far, I’ve gone from thinking this is impossible to thinking this is easy and back again. Every day changes. Every moment, really. Every day holds a hundred little mini choices for me to decide. A hundred little ways to to mess up – or not.

The crazy thing is, on the 7 1/2 hours of sleep plus an 1 1/2 nap, I feel like those little choices don’t matter as much as I thought they did. Every day, every moment? I can decide to change things again. A routine today doesn’t have to be the routine tomorrow. Or the next day.

For now?

I’m taking the sleep and being thankful for it while I have it.

Who knows what happens next?

Sleep Questions

Clo has never really been a terrible sleeper. I mean, we’ve had a day or two where she’s just constantly up. In general, though, she at least sleeps 3 hours at a time. In the last two weeks, though, a new development has arisen…

If she doesn’t sleep all day long (meaning only two or three naps), and if we endure 3-4 hours of crankypants while attempting to get her to bed at night, Clo sleeps 6-7 hours in a row. Amazing, right?


The 3-4 hours of crankypants means we don’t actually get to sleep until midnight. It’s hours of a cranky baby. Hours of bouncing her on a medicine ball. Hours of crying off and on. Hours of feeding and burping. By midnight I’m exhausted. MFH is exhausted. The 6-7 hours is a blessing, for sure, but it’s not exactly consistent either.

Am I supposed to be keeping her up until midnight so she can have these epic sleeps? Or will keeping her up mean the 3-4 hours of crankypants will just start from midnight?

And why is she sometimes fine with going to bed at ten? If she was really happy to be in bed at that time, then it seems odd that her sleep only lasts about 4 1/2 hours from then.

Every time I read about sleep and infants, the recommendation is the earlier the better. Most insist on getting them down by 6, or at the very latest seven. Midnight is certainly a far cry from that. But if she’s sleeping so well from midnight and not earlier, why should I fight the early bedtime?

Is Clo a night owl like her parents? Is indulging in the longer sleep a bad idea if a midnight bedtime is the exchange? Long term, obviously, it’s a problem. I don’t want a three-year-old who expects to be up until midnight. But on the other side of that, she’s only 7-weeks at this point; we’ve got time to make adjustments. Time easier dealt with if I have 6 or 7 hours of straight sleep at night.

Am I completely over thinking this and there isn’t actually a pattern? Maybe the midnight thing is just a coincidence? Be thankful for the 7 hours of sleep I got last night and just move on?

I’m really not sure what to think.

If you give me advice, I’ll show you a supercute picture of Chloé smiling…

Chloé Smiling

That smile absolutely slays me.

Lots to Think About

I got a call Wednesday. One of the women who are covering me while I’m on Mat Leave (the Marketing Manager) was a bit frantic, letting me know that the department was falling behind. Did I want to do some freelance work now?

Did I?

Excellent question. Everyone likes money. Well, maybe not everyone, but I think I’m fairly safe saying everyone because there’s enough of us in the world who live on and with money.

I am short on said money at the moment as I haven’t gotten a paycheque since I went off work the end of January and my benefits were just approved (possibly incorrectly) on Tuesday. But right there is the other issue. I don’t want to mess up my benefits, so I can’t accept money until this summer when I plan to work from home in a part-time capacity.

Still, I want to help. And I want to show how well I can work from home, because maybe I’ll be able to do that (at least part of the time) instead of having Clo in daycare 5 days a week. I’m looking into the possibility of doing the work now, but not applying the hours/getting paid until summer. We’ll see.

Speaking of daycare…Man, that is expensive. Most of the government certified centers I’ve seen with good ratings are about $100/day. In a four week month, you’re talking $2,000. That is bonkers to me. And, yes, I’m aware of the Child Care Subsidy that Toronto offers. But still.  Best case, we’ll still have to pay over $1,000/month.

There are other options, of course. In-home daycares (some are licensed), nannies, nanny share programs. But I’m not going to lie, all of those options make me a little uncomfortable. I realize Chloé will be a lot older and less breakable in eleven months, but she’s still going to be my baby. I want her taken care of and nurtured both mentally and physically. And I’m already starting to wonder if anyone can do that better than me.

I guess I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but with rumors of 2-year waiting lists all over the city, thinking about it now isn’t THAT crazy. We’ll see how I feel as the time draws closer.

Next week we have quite a few adventures planed. I’m getting retested for diabetes, so fingers crossed on that front. I’m also having my last appointment with the midwives. Unfortunately both of mine are on vacation, so I’ll finish up with another. I’m a bit emotional about “leaving” the midwives. I don’t know if anyone can ever have the bond with me and MFH that they did. If we ever decide to do this again, we’ll take the midwife track again. Even if I have the same problems with GD and PIH, I’d rather do it under their guidance.

Finally, we’ll be going in to my office to meet and greet. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone, not to mention picking up the stuff I left behind in my office. Clo’s been a fairly good traveler and visitor so far, and I’m hoping she keeps it up this time.

Apparently the time around 6-weeks is rife with physical and emotional growth for babies. They are more aware of their surroundings and, as such, become overstimulated by their surroundings. Literally there is too much to see and do. So they get fussy. Clo seems to be coming out of the worst of it now, but for a bit there we were referring to her as “the pot of fuss” and “Madame Fussypants.” I’ll get into it in length at another time, but the only thing that seems(ed) to work for her was holding her while bouncing on a medicine ball. I spend around 5 hours on it in an average 24 hour period. Let me tell you, my behind looks fabulous. 😉

I’m still feeling a bit out of sorts. My days and nights sort of blend together, and my understanding of times and dates have drastically declined. I was convinced this week was the week of the 23rd until Tuesday at about 3pm. I find myself desperate for the weekends in a way I haven’t been for some time. Enjoying my job so much means I actually didn’t count Saturday and Sunday as so much better than the rest of the week. But I feel quite differently now. I miss MFH during the work week. I feel like I hardly see him before it’s time to work on getting Chloé to bed. I suppose, like everything else, this will get better as Chloé gets older. For right now, though, I’m just always wishing for the weekend.

That seems like enough rambling for now, so I’ll leave off. Until next time, good luck and happy sleeps!

Chloé at 6 weeks and 2 days

Chloé at 6 weeks and 2 days



1 Month Roundup

Chloé 1 Month Old

So I’ve officially been a Mom for a month. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. On the other hand I’m *starting* to feel like I might be getting some small understanding of what I’m supposed to be doing. Some days are better than others. Other days are…let’s just say not good and leave it at that. Still, I don’t feel as though I’m lost in the fog anymore, and that’s definitely an improvement.

I figure every month I’ll have at least 10 things I’ve learned from being a parent to my daughter. I could be wrong, and will change this bit at a later date. But, for now, here’s my list of ten for month 1.

1. Plans are Made to be Broken
Seriously, I had so many plans before Chloé was born. She was never going to have formula. She was going to nap in her crib during the day so that it would be easier to transition her there after we moved her out of the pack ‘n’ play in our room. I’d sleep every time she did. None of that happened. I mean, sure, as a guideline my plans are/were fine, they just all didn’t make sense in the actual practice. You know why I don’t sleep every time Chloé does? Because I like to eat food. And not have a completely filthy house. Oh, and sometimes it’s nice to actually do my hair and makeup. So, yeah, I sleep when she sleeps…just not every time. I’ve talked about the formula issue already. And naps happen in her bouncer more than anywhere else, but I’ll get to that next. Honestly, to all the A-Type/OCD/Planners out there: There is nothing wrong with having a game plan, you just really have to be ready to throw it out with the bathwater. (But not the baby. Baby does not get thrown out with the bathwater.)

2. Put the Baby Down
I don’t think Chloé was out of someone’s arms for the first two days of her life. She was just so cute and little and OH MY GOD CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TAKE THIS BABY SO I CAN PEE?!?! Yeah, it was notsogreat. As I mentioned before, Chloé sleeps in the newborn napper of our Pack ‘n’ Play in our bedroom at night. During her first few days she slept, you guessed it, in someone’s arms. That’s exhausting on so many levels. If I was in the bedroom, or across the hall in the bathroom (with the door open) I felt okay putting her down in the napper, but in the living room or kitchen? I just wasn’t confident about the whole situation. I almost felt like I needed a whole other Pack ‘n’ Play for the living room. When my Mom flew up at about two-weeks post birth, she brought up the bouncer she got for us. And halleluiah, it was a game changer. I get to sometimes eat dinner with (as opposed to taking turns with) MFH because of that thing. While I’m by myself, I get to eat outside of the bedroom because she sleeps in the bouncer. It’s marvelous.

3. Breastfeeding Sucks
I talked about this in my last post, but I’ve found there’s even more. I think it’s really important to say my peace, to talk about how breastfeeding isn’t all magic and roses. Personally, I find that it often sucks. Oversupply has me dripping milk on my feet in the mornings. I have a ton of t-shirts and bras covered in breast milk (even when using pads). I feel like a cow a lot of the time. Chloé basically ignores me while I’m feeding her, unless it’s to claw at my boobs or bite me to slow down the flow of milk. I gave her a bottle of breast milk the other day; just to get her aware that it exists and so we don’t have huge fights over bottles in the future. It was amazing, she kept eye contact with me the entire time. Oh, and don’t believe the people that tell you breastfed babies poo doesn’t have a smell. It does. It may not be as bad as formula or solid food poops, but is not something you want to leave around the house either. I often know Chloé needs a change because of the smell alone. I don’t think breastfeeding is the most amazing experience of my life. It’s fine, and I’ll continue to do it, but at some point I’m going to shift to exclusively pumping and feeding with a bottle. It may be 6-months, or when Chloé gets teeth, or starts talking, but it’s going to happen. And I’m 100% okay with that. For all the mothers who’s lives have been wonderfully altered by breastfeeding, I salute you with all sincerity. But for all the one’s out there who fight every day to feed their little ones, I get it.

3. Taking Help was Amazeballs
I am one of the most independent people you’ll ever meet without sliding over into agoraphobia. I have no real issue with being alone and, on occasion, even seek out time alone. My mother swares that when I first went to preschool/daycare, while all the other kids were screaming and clinging to their parents’ legs, I basically waved and went on my way inside. So I really wondered about having people come over all day and help out. Yeah, I was crazy. It was so helpful. Either they could do housework or I could. They could watch Clo while I slept. Or even just offer me the option of a break. Maybe I just got lucky and have amazingly considerate/helpful family and friends. Still, I’d recommend taking help that’s offered, even if you’re unsure of actually wanting/needing it.

4. Babies are Cute for a Reason
They are so adorable so that when you are exhausted, starving, crying your eyes out, and dirtier than you’ve ever been (or maybe ever been since 24 hour parties at University), you don’t do something terrible to your little one. Long before I was pregnant, I read this article from Pregnant Chicken. I recommend you all read it. It prepared me for the feelings of helpless irritation that comes with a screaming person who can’t articulate her needs. I think, though, my midwife put it best: They’re cute so you don’t throw them off the balcony.

4. Try to Stick to Your Normal
I read a lot of blogs/articles about how just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you can’t shower and put real clothes on everyday. This benchmark of parenting success sort of confused me; because I don’t shower every day unless I’ve been doing something to make me sweaty, and no one in my house gets out of pajamas unless we’re going out in public. So, yeah, doing those things would not be normal for me without a baby. I certainly won’t be doing it with one. But I do straighten my hair and put on makeup when I’m doing more than grocery shopping. I get out of the house about as much as I did before, if not for as lengthy periods. I eat real food and love on my husband and watch new releases. It’s not everyone’s normal, but it’s mine. It helps me remember that I’m still me, just with more. Everyone needs that, I think.

5. Schedules Help Keep Sanity
It’s early days yet, but I see no reason why setting up a basic outline of Chloé’s day is a bad thing. And it seems to be “working.” Sort of. Clo’s more alert during the day between feeds. At night, she gets back to sleep relatively faster. Generally we try to move into the bedroom by 8pm. Low lighting and voices. When she wakes up at night, things go like this: Pick up, Change diaper, Move to living room, Feed, Re-swaddle, Hold until sufficiently drowsy, and back to sleep. On really good nights, I get up to 4 and a half hours until she wakes up again. On bad nights it can be as little as 45 mins. Generally, though, it’s about 2 hours to 3 and a half hours. During the day, we do things differently. The first four moves remain the same, but then we chat. (Or I chat at her.) We move around the living room and kitchen, and I chatter and/or sing. I wash her and/or apply lotion as needed. We spend awake time together. When she dozes off, I put her in her bouncer and go about my day. Having said all that…

5. Remember that thing about plans?
Just because we have a semi-set routine doesn’t mean we’re awesomesauce all day, every day. Sometimes a day is bad. Sometimes a night is. Sometimes a whole 24 hours passes before I feel like I’ve got my mind back again. Sometimes it’s my fault. MFH comes home late from work and I want to spend time with him, so I don’t move Clo to the bedroom until 9:30…which sets off a chain reaction of horrible. Sometimes Clo’s just not feeling it, for whatever reason. So, schedules are good, but remembering that they need a lot of wiggle room is equally important.

6. This Too Shall Pass
The thing about bad days/nights/whatever is that they don’t last forever. (I suppose the same could be said about the good days/nights/whatever, but let’s stay positive, shall we?) One night of a total of 4 hours often seems to be followed by a night with a total of 8 hours. A day of fussiness is followed by a night of calm. I’m told that every month gets better/easier, and also comes with a new set of challenges. So far, so good.

7. Sometimes…It’s Boring
Newborns aren’t really all that interesting. I mean, they don’t really have personalities yet. They aren’t all that reactive. I talk to Clo (and talk as Clo) mostly to entertain myself. I’m really looking forward to actually making her laugh, as opposed to her just randomly laughing. I say that to people and they warn me not to rush things. I get that as well. She’s only going to be this tiny for a short time. I do enjoy it, I’m just also often really bored.

8. Body Changes
There are some things about my body that will never be the same again. I have stretch marks I didn’t before. My organs have moved around and been squished. My stomach grew to accommodate a 7 pound human. I didn’t expect to get my waist back in a day. I was honestly surprised how quickly I dropped back to a non-maternity size. I’m still not 100% back to pre-pregnancy, but I’m a heck of a lot smaller than I expected to be a month in. What is odd, is how…shall I say squishy I am. Nothing between my boobs and hips feels quite right. I’ve always had a strong core, even when I wasn’t particularly fit looking. So this softness is extremely foreign to me. I already mentioned the leaky boobs. Then there’s my face. The last time my face was as smooth and clear as it is now, I think I was prepubescent. So, take the good with the…weird and move on.

9. Keep up Connections
I’ve said how wonderful my family/friends have been through all of this. There is nothing to discount that and nothing to take away from that. However. There really is something to be said about having connections that are dealing with the exact same thing(s) you are. It was important during pregnancy, and now it might be more so. I met up with my (no longer) preggo friend AB on Tuesday. Her daughter was born the day after Chloé, so it’s a really helpful barometer to see the two together. It’s also pretty awesome to talk good, bad, and ugly with a mom who’s going through it all right now. Our stories are so similar, it makes me feel like I’m not a total waste of a mother. (Actually that’s far too harsh, I feel like I’m doing a fairly okay job of things so far.) My connection with AB is something I wouldn’t give up for a straight 8 hours of sleep. And if you know me, you know how crazy that is for me to say.

10. Thank God for MFH
One thing that always bothered me on the Preggo boards was how women would rant about how terrible their significant other is/was. First of all, maybe talk to them, rather than a nameless interweb of hormonal women? Secondly, why on earth did you get with and conceive a child with this person if they’re really as bad as you’re sayinig? I didn’t get it then, and I certainly don’t get it now. MFH is my biggest support system. He was when I was pregnant, and he’s even moreso now. He sees when I’m frustrated with Chloé’s crying and takes her to try his own methods of soothing her. He loves and plays with her even after a long, bad day at work. And he is nothing but complimentary about me, my body, and my journey through figuring out how to be a mother. I never wanted to have children before MFH. I realize now that was because I couldn’t do all this by myself. I wouldn’t have made it through pregnancy, let alone the last month without him by my side. I loved him so much before Chloé, but now that he’s her father I find myself even more in love with him. Sappy, but true.

So that’s all for now. One month down. One lifetime to go. 😀

Breastfeeding Sucks (aka Adventures in Jaundice)

I doubt it would surprise anyone that I planned to breastfeed 100% of the time. I wanted a pump so that at some point we could bottle feed breast milk (and I could leave the house for more than an hour at a time), but that was about the extent of my deviation from the standard plan.

Chloé was a champion feeder from the start. She opened her mouth super wide, latched well, and has a completely unencumbered tongue. Everyone from M2 to the TEGH nurses all commented on how well we both were doing with breastfeeding. By the time we got home, I felt like I was a true novice, but that I was well on my way to being comfortable with breastfeeding.

Then day 3 happened.

At about 2 am Chloé started refusing the breast. She was upset, crying at me. I kept trying to feed her and she kept refusing. This went on until 10 am. I noticed her lips were dry and chapped looking, and she was exhausted.

M2 came over and quickly determined two things: 1. Chloé had lost more than 10% of her body weight; and 2. Chloé was Jaundice. My milk hadn’t come in, and Chloé wasn’t getting enough in the way of food. Thankfully I had formula in the house from random samples I’d received. (And here I’m going to jump on a soap box for a second. To all you mothers who condemn women for even thinking about keeping formula in the house, my baby was literally starving. We didn’t have a car at the time, so we couldn’t just “drive out and get some” when we actually needed it. Having in the house did not “tempt” me to use it, it just meant it was there when my healthcare provider determined it was necessary to use. Okay, done, moving on…)

We learned how to cup feed and how to use the tube feeding to supplement with formula. It was stressful. Made more so by the need to go and get the level of Chloé’s jaundice tested. And all of that was made worse by the dreaded day 3 hormone drop. Anytime anyone said anything nice to me, I burst into tears. Literally had a wet face from about 2pm that day until about 6pm that night.

While we waited for her results, I went to TEGH’s breastfeeding clinic. I was shown a different way of expressing and sure enough, my milk had come in. Chloé feed well while there. Further, her jaundice blood work came back low enough that she didn’t need UV treatment, but they wanted us back in the morning to test again. I was told to continue supplementing to help pull her weight back up, and we were sent home.

Because Chloé is no dummy, she became super annoyed with breastfeeding. The cup and/or tube was faster and got food to her without any delay. My letdown of milk just wasn’t quick enough and she got impatient fast. Because I was terrified of starving her, I allowed her to eat her preferred way without pressing the breast issue.

The next day I went to the clinic again while waiting for her jaundice results. We talked about other methods of getting her feeding better, and they recommended I rent a pump until I got my own. Both to keep up and increase my supply, and to try and encourage a faster letdown. The lactation nurse also encouraged MFH to finger feed the extra supplement while I pumped after feeding. We found out that her jaundice was clearing, and her weight was up almost 2 oz since the day before.

The finger feeding caused more issues. Chloé loved to finger feed. She loved it so much she would cry if we tried anything else. I was pumping enough to feed her exclusively with breast milk, but she was barely feeding at all at the breast.

M2 came to check on us and we discussed the problem. She gave us time to get through the night doing what we were doing, but then set up a game plan to get her back to breastfeeding. We made a contingency plan to go to bottle feeding breast milk as a worst case scenario. To be honest, over the next 24 hours I was fairly certain that was how things were going to go.

But, armed with a night of relative ease, I spent the day fighting my daughter. The tube got put away. No more finger feeding. She got the option of breastfeeding or the cup. Neither were her preference. There was a lot of crying, from both of us. Then, almost like magic, she got tired of fighting me and fed like we’d never had any hiccups at all.

Even though things were going well, I was panicked that I wasn’t making enough food and her body weight would go back to being too low. It’s such a devastating feeling, to literally feel like you’re failing as a mother. It made me so sympathetic to every woman who’s ever decided–whether personal preference or because she had no choice–to feed formula or bottle feed breast milk rather than breastfeed.

Thankfully, though, at our next home visit M2 determined that Chloé was almost back to her birth weight. We celebrated the success and talked about the book she wants to write (called Breastfeeding Sucks). It would basically be about all the A-type moms who come to find out that breastfeeding is a lot harder then they were expecting, for any number of reasons.

As my preggo friend AB texted so eloquently, “Breastfeeding is hard!”

And even though it wasn’t actually hard for Chloé and me, it certainly wasn’t smooth sailing. I thought I might be done with it entirely several times. And while I am glad that we worked things out in the end, I have zero doubt in my mind that I would have happily gone to exclusively pumping and bottle feeding had it not. And I’m super glad that I had formula in my house when I needed it.

Happy Chloé

My happy, well-fed baby.

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I talk a lot about the hardships of women, both on here and my daily life. The stress we put on ourselves. The shaming that others chose to heap upon us. Even the judgements we make as we look at others.

A good chunk of the time, I don’t think people are actively trying to be assholes. I think they see/hear something they don’t agree with and they react. That’s not always the case, but it is the case a lot of the time.

What sucks is that it doesn’t necessarily happen both directions. What I mean is, those reactions towards negativity tend to be more forthcoming than reactions towards positivity. So, while you may be quick to comment on a screaming child who repeatedly smacks into you in a line, you may keep completely silent about a perfectly well behaved child who quietly waits next to his/her parent.

Even little compliments are often withheld. Sometimes because we are afraid of overstepping some social line.

While waiting in a rather long food line at the CNE this past August, an attractive woman hesitantly started talking to me. “I’m really sorry,” she began, “I wasn’t going to say anything, but I hope you don’t mind…I think you have really beautiful eyes.” She went on to say how she’d been debating with herself for most of the line on whether or not to say anything to me. I thanked her and told her I completely understood. I shared that I had grown up in the South and how complements were handed out a bit more freely there.

It was such a nice moment because, for one, who doesn’t like a compliment; and, for two, it was so nice to feel like this pretty lady looked at me and saw something lovely, rather than “fat”/preggo. It also, oddly was the first time that someone gave me a compliment and I immediately thought of Spawn. I hoped that whatever it was that made that woman comment on my eyes was something I passed on to Spawn.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my eyes. That certainly wasn’t the first compliment I’d ever gotten on them. I do think it was the first from a complete stranger who wasn’t a makeup artist, though. You see, my are a true hazel, complete with a tri-coloured iris. Near the pupil it’s a mahogany brown, then a lot of amber, with a ring of dark brown. Sometimes they turn more green than gold, but it depends on the light and my mood.

With MFH’s light green eyes and my hazel, I already had high hopes for Spawn’s eyes.  Having that woman compliment me made me realize that whatever colour they turn out, they will be beautiful. My baby will be better than my hopes and dreams, because he/she will be real.

All this because one woman was brave enough to offer a compliment…

In keeping with that mindset, I read a post today that I think is absolutely lovely. It’s about telling someone they are a good mom. Maybe someone you know, maybe someone you don’t. Either way it’s about taking the time to just say good job. Not for amazingly heroic acts of motherhood, but for small, simple things. It’s about how those small, simple things can completely change a person’s day.

I encourage you to read it in full:
Tell a Friend: You Are a Good Mama | Raising Kvell.


***I’d like to add as a postscript here, that this doesn’t have to be exclusive to mamas. There are some pretty awesome Daddies out there that deserve their fair share of “good jobs,” as well…***