Monday, February 28, 2005

Weaning process 

I had the extra challenge that Isabella wasn't used to drinking out of anything except from my breast, so there was some education involved. Using the right sippy cup was key so I tried different ones. I found the Avent one was too hard to suck. She'd play with it, but didn't understand that she could get fluid out of it. I tried to put it in her mouth to get her to suck on it, but then she'd just bite the spout instead. So I tried the Take & Toss b/c that one flows out slowly w/o requiring sucking. That helped her generally understand the ability to drink out of a cup. After that, I introduced the Playtex sippy cups which I think has the right amount of spill proofness and ease of drinking. That's been our favorite cups.

We were giving Isabella Pediasure for several months to fatten her up before we introduced cow's milk. Isabella didn't like either of those. The Pediasure tasted like vanilla milkshake, so you would think she should like that! For several weeks, she would only drink a couple of sips of the Pediasure a day, then throw it off her high chair. We wasted SOOOO much Pediasure! Then all of a sudden, one day, she surprised me by drinking 4 ozs in one sitting, then next thing you knew she was drinking 24 ozs in one day! So I think that babies have to get used to, and keep seeing a food/drink. So don't get discouraged; keep trying; it just takes time and patience.

When we introduced cow's milk, I did the same and mixed the milk with Pediasure a little at a time. But I made the mistake of thinking I could give it to her 50-50 cow's milk & Pediasure. WRONG! She was too astute and immediately could taste the difference. Even 75-25 she could tell her precious Pediasure was contaminated. So I started REALLY SLOW with about 90-10 (I experimented until I found a % that she would tolerate), and every week or so I substituted more milk. I'd introduce any new % mixture during her morning milk cup when she was ultra thirsty (she gulps down 8 ozs in 2 minutes) so there is less likelihood of protest. It took several weeks (> 1 month?), but eventually when I gave her 100% cow's milk, she didn't seem to miss the Pediasure at all! They do adapt eventually!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I'm free! 

I’m free!! Isabella has been weaned as of 4 days ago. I can’t tell you how liberating it is to have my body to myself again! Isabella never took the bottle so I was the sole source of her food and comfort for quite a while. So just imagine – no more rushing back every 3-4 hours to feed the baby; no more worrying about producing enough breast milk; no more pressure to eat more and down at least 96 ounces of water daily; no more avoiding alcohol; no more being unable to go out because I had to be around to nurse the baby to sleep or whatever. I can actually leave her with someone and not have to worry that she will be screaming wanting to nurse. (she’ll just be screaming about something else…) I can’t tell you what a relief it is… like a big weight is being lifted off my shoulders!

But despite how elated I am, I feel a slight tinge of sadness that we are done breastfeeding … I am kind of surprised by my sadness because I remember after a month of engorged, cracked and painful breasts how I couldn’t wait to be done with nursing. But there are so many quiet beautiful moments to nursing. It is such a special relationship that you have when your breasts can always comfort a fussy baby; that they can put the baby to sleep when you needed it. Also, in the hectic life with a baby, it is nice to have some quiet minutes where you can just relax, hold and just look at the baby and appreciate how beautiful and wonderful she really is.

She is growing up now and we will always have a special bond even though she no longer needs my milk. And I guess that is the ironic thing … slowly but surely the baby will need you less and less until you need them more.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Baby name wizard 

This site has a pretty neat chart showing you how popular certain names have been over the century. Check it out.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

When the babysitter comes... 

...the parents go partying. We hired the hotel babysitter (a stranger! a first) for the night to watch Isabella while she was sleeping so we could enjoy the rest of Eli & Margarita's wedding.

Here's us with friends Josh and Kitty.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Britax Roundabout v. Marathon? 

I had a debate about whether I should buy the Britax Roundabout or Marathon, both top rated convertible infant car seats. I ultimately concluded that the Marathon was for bigger babies and that for the majority of babies, the size of the Roundabout would still fit through age 3 and maybe 4. (unless your child is in the >100 percentile) Of course it is a good idea to keep your child in the infant seat as long as possible, but by the time your kid gets to be older, s/he will want to graduate to a "big boy/girl" booster seat. The law says that kids must be in "an appropriate child passenger restraint" until they are at least 6 years old or weigh at least 60 pounds. They should be in car booster seats if they are too big for child safety seats.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bye bye Jean Street! 

We officially closed escrow and Jean Street is sold! After 11 offers, we sold it for 20% over asking with a 12 day close. The market in the SF Bay Area is INSANE.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

My own personal hell? 

Many people say how fortunate I’ve been to be at home with the baby full time. And yes, for the most part I agree. It’s wonderful to be there for Isabella in this first year because it means so much to her. I’ve seen her first steps, her first babbling, her first everything. I do treasure every moment and cheer her on as she achieves new triumphs. She really is such a miracle and I love seeing her discover her world. I am so proud of her, and you can see that in her blog.

But, this is not Isabella’s blog… this is *my* blog, so I get to tell it like it is. If you take care of a baby full time, it is critical to take a break to have some time to yourself once in a while. Otherwise, you go bananas. I am trying hard to do that, but it doesn’t always happen. So, I may use my blog as my way to vent once in a while.

And I have to tell you that sometimes I feel that I am in my own personal hell. Right now I am in a particularly dark mood because Isabella has been sick for 2 weeks out of the last 3 and I am just exhausted.

When you have a sick baby, you CAN’T take a break. You can’t go out. You can’t share a babysitter with your friend. You can’t go to classes or playgroups. You can’t see friends. You are stuck at home. And you get major cabin fever with a cranky baby. UGH!

Isabella caught RSV, a nasty respiratory virus, in which she had asthmatic breathing. Rich and I probably caught the same virus, but despite the fact that we’re sick and feeling lousy, we can’t stop to take care of ourselves because the baby needs us.

And, Isabella is sooo cranky when she is sick. She just cries and wants to be held, but that doesn’t help either, so then she just cries and cries and cries. Then at night she might wake up every hour and continue to cry and cry and cry. So you are basically dealing with a sick and cranky baby 24/7 when you yourself are exhausted, frustrated and sick. As a Mom you just want her to feel better, and you do everything you can to comfort her. But all the medicine, singing and rocking can only do so much. If she is sick and miserable, she is sick and miserable and she has no problems telling you this. It makes you start sobbing yourself because you feel so helpless after so many hours of screaming. It makes you feel like a terrible mother.

And I think that’s the worst of it – feeling so helpless and that you must be the worst mother in the world for having a baby who is so obviously unhappy. Even though psychologically you know that it has nothing to do with you and that all babies cry, etc. Still. I’m a woman. I can’t help but overanalyze and think too much about these things. And bottom line, being sleep deprived, stressed and exhausted, you get a little loopy. Your patience runs thin, your temper boils over, and you start thinking all sorts of crazy stuff.

It doesn’t help that Rich can sleep through all the crying. The crying never bothers the man. He either a) thinks "oh how cute" or b) just lets her cry it out. Great - he hasn’t been home listening to that all day! And to me crying it out is a cop-out approach (unless you are doing sleep training or disciplining). I just can’t stand all that crying when it comes to my baby when she is not feeling well. So he gets to have all the fun with the baby but I have to do all the dirty work???

But as far as fathers go, Rich is actually the most wonderful father you can imagine, and very high on the involvement side. He is always so enthused to change Isabella’s diaper and play with her. He is way more hands on than most traditional fathers are. So I am actually lucky. But it’s hard because even with all his efforts, I can never feel that he is helping enough. I hate feeling this way but I can’t help it. Which then blows my mind – can you imagine how I’d be feeling if we had a more traditional husband – wife relationship? How would I feel as a woman in that situation? (Perhaps you can say that I would never be in such a marriage!)

I’ve worked in stressful industries before - consulting, finance and technology, traveled last minute for clients, stayed up many nights crunching for work, managed several projects simultaneously, lived in countries where I didn't speak the language and was jobless and penniless, even had people tell me that I suck. But none of this really bothered me all that much. I am generally a pretty cool, calm, collected person. I don’t get too stressed. I guess deep down I knew that I was good, smart and could figure it all out.

And again that’s what blows my mind is that so many women before me have raised their babies without much help from their husbands and with such different socio, educational and economic backgrounds. And they all managed to survive and do fine. And here I am – a post MBA who had a pretty successful career who is practically cracking at raising ONE baby! Boy, do I feel lame – both as a woman and a mother!

But business you leave at the end of the day. Your baby is your life, your blood and so so very important. And as a new mom, I don’t know what I'm doing or if I’m any good. I'm figuring it out as I go. Maybe it’s the insecurity, the desire to do a great job and be a great mom. Maybe it's feeling like a complete failure when the baby is crying in your arms and you can't comfort her. Or maybe it's the feeling that you've lost control of the basic parts of your life. Perhaps I have to stop trying so hard, accept that I'm doing my best and let it go. Maybe being part of a good parent is knowing that you can’t be perfect, that a perfect cooing baby doesn’t exist and that you have to laugh at things once in a while. There are good times and there are bad, and you just have to go with the flow. And when you loosen up, you eventually become the mother you want to be.

I am also concluding that just as each baby's temperament can range from easy to sensitive to grouchy etc. so also there are different types of mothers. And some women can stay with their baby full time and never miss adult conversation or other types of intellectual stimulation. Those women are saints - good for them. While others like me find it hard to fade into the background and have my identity only be "Isabella's mom". Compared to the fast, active and independent lifestyle from before, this domestic one is a 180 degree adjustment for me. But I'm the kind of person who still needs time for herself to do what I want to do. Does that make me selfish and vain?