Monday, November 28, 2005

Here's a couple of photos

This one is of our family. I ended up setting up the digital camera on a timer to get this shot because our photographer was a no-show :( Yep, we sat around for a good two hours in our fancy clothes before realizing we better take the picture ourselves! Most of Matt's family doesn't know me (and vice versa) so I thought it would be a good idea to include a cheesy family photo on our Christmas card this year. Aren't we lovely?

Here is the big girl bed! Iris has done a great job sleeping in it. Of course, she still gets up half through the night to sleep with me and get some nursies, but slowly, ever so slowly, we are making progress! The cool thing about this bed is that it extends to two longer positions and comes with a mattress that's in three pieces to accomodate! Cool, huh? I love IKEA!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What the hell do I have to be thankful for?

It's amazing how having a child very, very rarely makes me down on myself or my life. Watching Iris every single day makes me realize I am an amazing mama, and I have an amazing life. I can't think of a single thing to not be thankful for, actually. I have a beautiful, healthy, vibrant daughter, who has brought my world infinite amounts of joy that I never, ever thought I could experience. She has given my life purpose, fulfillment, and another chance that I never thought I would have with her father. She has turned the three of us in to a family, our apartment in to a home, and everything else is just icing on the cake, as they say. Some days it feels like I'm pushing it, like there is a finite amount of luck each person has in the world and I am rapidly approaching the limit of mine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's almost Thanksgiving

And I just finished making my amazing vegan gravy and cranberry pumpkin bread. Yum! I also made Matt buy a pumpkin pie. I've never made a pie before and I figured screwing one up for Thanksgiving dinner wasn't going to be the best introduction in the craft. This year we are going to friend's for dinner. No traveling, no cleaning, very little cooking, hooray!

This morning Matt took Iris to co-op and I got the morning off. Melissa came to pick me up and we went to IKEA! It was sooooooo decadent to shop without Iris. Of course, I bought her the big girl bed we've been eyeing for a long time. When we got home I re-arranged our room, ripped open the box and set the bed up immediately. Matt was looking at me like I was a crazy person, but little did he know I am amazing at putting together IKEA furniture. I think I should get a job there, something in the display department so I can set up all the furniture! She is in there sleeping now, actually, in her big girl bed all by herself. On the days Matt is home from work our schedule is all skewumpus. She didn't take her nap until 3:30, then slept until almost 6:00. Then she proceeded to stay wide awake until 10:00, when I nursed her and put her in her bed. She was awake when I left the room at 10:30 but I didn't hear a peep on the monitor after I left, so that's good, right? I really, really dislike leaving the room while she is still awake, I don't know why that is. I just enjoy comforting Iris to sleep, but tonight it almost seemed like she was too awake and I was adding to the distraction. It must have been the right move because it looks like she's out. All alone, in her big girl bed. *sniff*

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Matt's shopping trip

I forgot one thing I had to mention!

In a moment of bravery, I had to send Matt to pick out Iris's new winter coat all by himself. He works across from a mall, after all, and it was the last day of the sale at Oshkosh B'Gosh. So, he comes home from work this afternoon with, well, the best damn winter coat I think I've ever seen! I couldn't believe it! It isn't too thin, or too puffy, it's a lovely shade of pink and the lining zips out of the shell to make it perfect for warmer weather. I'll have to post a picture of that, as well. If I only I had a picture of him sorting through the racks of toddler's clothes at the store :)

I'm smitten!

Minding P's and Q's and the Christmas tree battle

Iris's newest totally cutest thing ever is that she is saying "Please" (well, it's more like "Peez") and "Thank You" (more like "Dee Doo") but the absolute cutest is that she now says "Thank You Mama" (again, "Dee Doo Mama"). It's so freaking sweet I almost want to cry every time she does it. Who knew that teaching manners to my daughter would be so moving?

So, I have been rallying hard for a fake Christmas tree. And not just any tree, but a 7 1/2 ft tall one that is pre-lit and from the (gasp!) Martha Stewart line at K-Mart. Matt has been artfully dodging my pleas to spend our Christmas present money on this tree, but I have finally decided we're going to get it, damn it!, because we need it to be the backdrop for our family portrait, which will be taken on Sunday. Nothing more exciting than spending $200 on a tree so it can serve as a backdrop, eh? Well, no, not really, I mean, it will be the TREE--OUR tree to be exact. The very first family tree Matt, Iris and I will have! And if Matt has his way, it will certainly be our last (poor guy can't see the reasoning behind spending so much on a fake tree. Sigh.). So, hopefully the after Thanksgiving shoppers won't clear out K-Mart this weekend and we can make a pilgrimage to the land of blue-light specials. Wait, do they still do that?!?! Luckily my mother isn't terribly fond of our sentimental childhood ornaments and has passed alot of them along to me, so we've got plenty of decorations to cover, well, maybe half the tree? 7 1/2 ft is big! Almost a whole foot taller than Matt :) At least that half that will show when we have our picture taken! I'll be sure to post a picture on here after we have it taken. Iris will most likely be screaming, I will look frazzled and Matt will look dashing as usual. Sadly, I'm the only one without a cute outfit to wear. Sigh. Such is the life of a mama.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Creating independence in an AP'd child

I have not personally come across people who have criticism of attachment parenting. I think the family I have and the community I live in considers my parenting principles fairly mainstream. I have never gotten a single negative comment about breastfeeding my daughter in public, even at 17 months old, I get nothing but great comments on our slings, and have never been scolded by a well-meaning parent for co-sleeping or not letting my daughter cry-it-out. It's comforting, of course, but all the reading I do online, and all the message boards I read have painted a different picture of what it means to AP in most places in this country.

One thing I have read about a great deal is that parents are fearful that AP creates clingy children. I am very much of the mindset that independent children or clingy children are basically born that way, but of course the nuturing we provide them plays a role. My daughter has been AP'd from birth and has a very healthy sense of independence. She isn't so independent that she never needs me, but at parks, or in groups, or even at home, she is more than happy to explore on her own. In those situations I often have to stop her to get a snuggle in! She also loves sitting on laps to read books, and snuggling up in bed or for nursing. I feel that these are highly desirable attributes (at least for me!) and I am very certain that my parenting style has given me the tools I need to create the balance that I have with my daughter.

I would never mean to imply that children who aren't AP'd don't have a healthy sense of independence, or that all AP children do, but I take pride in the relationship we have and can personally see how the way that parenting her has fostered that.

I want to share my story because it's a success story about what worked for us, and hopefully it will influence someone else who wants to follow a similar parenting path. Creating the trust with her that I have has allowed her to explore her world and feel safe that mama will always be there when she needs me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This just in: Ferber recants!

I just read this on the AP board on babycenter. I thought it was mighty interesting! Here's the text of an ABC News article (emphasis mine):

Link to Story

Desperate to Help Your Baby Fall Asleep?
It's Important to Know That No Method Has Been Proven Best, Experts Say


Nov. 15, 2005 — Elizabeth Salkoff is living every parent's dream: Her 5-month-old daughter, Dani, is already sleeping through the night.

She knows she's lucky, and she chalks it up to simply having a cooperative baby. However, Salkoff also has done her research — she owns more than half a dozen books on infant sleep.

"In the interest of just being proactive," said Salkoff, a Brooklyn, N.Y., resident.

Infant sleep is a hot parenting topic, and theories abound on how best to help a baby fall asleep peacefully. Some parents practice the "Ferber Method" — named after Dr. Richard Ferber, a Boston pediatrician and author who believes that babies should be trained to fall asleep on their own, even if it means enduring lots of crying. There are also parents who follow the "co-sleeping" and "attachment parenting" methods, which both emphasize more physical contact than Ferber's.

But a recent Wall Street Journal article noted that Ferber and several other top parenting authors are softening their stances on infant sleep, saying parents themselves are probably the best ones at finding what works.

This is welcome news to Jodi A. Mindell, the associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and author of "Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep." Her book is known for taking a "middle ground" on the issue.

"Parents are going to be overwhelmed by the different opinions [on infant sleep]," Mindell said. "Parents have to decide by themselves what is right and what fits."

Research has shown that babies wake up the same amount each night regardless of whether they are sleeping in a crib or in their parents' bed. However, "independent sleepers" are less fussy when they wake up.

Some parents take this tidbit and decide that crib-sleeping is better for their child. Others see this as abandonment and decide to respond each time their child wakes and cries, noted Dr. Barbara Felt, an associate professor in the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Department at the University of Michigan.

Neither decision is wrong, Felt said. Cultural studies have shown that babies grow up healthy and happy in either situation.

"A happy parent and a happy baby — that's really the bottom line," she said. "There as many different ways to get there as there are babies, parents and doctors."

Pick a Routine and Stick With It

What's important is the "sleep routine," Mindell said.

"It's a set schedule. Having babies go to bed around the same time every night, waking up and having a nap schedule. Having that consistently throughout the day sets the baby's internal clock," Mindell said. "Also, making sure a baby is going to bed at an appropriate time, not when the parents do at 11 o'clock. Babies need much more sleep than adults."

She also recommends a bedtime routine, or a series of quiet activities done with the child before he or she is put to bed.

Pediatrician Ari Brown, of Austin, Texas, said that parents need to understand how babies' brains and sleep patterns change as they age.

For example, newborns aren't able to self-soothe themselves to sleep, so "you gotta do what you gotta do," said Brown, author of "Baby 411."

But as babies get older, they learn to ways to adapt. At 5 months of age, many babies are able to "self-soothe." Still, the time it takes to fall asleep will vary widely for each child, she said.

So she has some simple advice.

"Lower your expectations," Brown said, explaining that a child who sleeps through the night is not a sign of a healthier or smarter child. "If you have some reasonable expectations, you're less frustrated."

For the good of the whole

Iris is quickly coming upon her 18th month, but I am still researching vaccines and am incredibly torn on the topic. Even though Iris has been selectively vaxed, on a delayed schedule, I am still not sure what schedule I want to continue on. Sigh. The one thing that has been hard for me to wrap my head around is vaccinating my child for the good of the whole population. In theory, I feel very strongly about making special efforts in my life to have a positive effect on the world. In ways such as recycling, eating organically, raising my daughter in a socially conscious way, etc etc. But I'm having a hard time getting behind the theory that it's important, for example, to give my child the flu vaccine so that she won't spread the flu virus along to those who are, for example, immune compromised. Wait, I guess I understand the theory, but I am uncomfortable bearing the risk of a vaccine in order to potentially protect, um, everyone?

There are some people who are so adament about the necessity of vaccines that they truly believe people who don't vax are horrible, horrible people. Vaccinating has been made mandatory for many situations, including going to school, camps, daycare, etc. Everywhere my environment is telling me that I MUST vaccinate my daughter, yet it's been very hard to get honest information about what it means to actually vaccinate MY child. I have read many books, done much research online, and talked to several different doctors about the risks and benefits. How can I be told I must vaccinate and yet vaccines are still so potentially dangerous? How can I keep the good of the whole in mind when my child is the one bearing the risk of these vaccines?

Not suprisingly, I haven't decided what I'd like to do from here on out. I really think that parents need to be some effort in to making sure vaccines are safer, but until then, we're stuck in the struggle.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Where does she learn this stuff?

The other day, in the bath tub, Iris busted out with "e-i-e-i-o". Matt and I don't sing Old MacDonald to her (but you better believe we do now!) and are not exactly sure where she picked this up. We occassionally sing this song at pre-school, but it had been a week and a half since she last heard, and even then it gets sung once a week at most. Crazy! She is starting to just branch out and pick up on these things without any suggestions from anyone. Today it's Old MacDonald, next week she'll be doing algebra.

This past weekend we made our pilgrimage to the new library downtown. It is incredibly, incredibly cool. The Children's section is it's own room, filled with books and computers and games and fun places to sit. I can't wait to continue to take Iris there as she grows. One thing Seattle has going for it (among many, many things) is it's library system. They have built so many cool new libraries lately and we have had few chances to explore very many of them.

In other news, molars are the most horrid thing EVER. I didn't think they were a big deal until this last week and Iris was working on poking four of those buggers through! She has not been a happy girl. Tylenol has become our friend. Iris has reverted to newborn behavior, which very well may have scared me off having children for several more years.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sick baby alert

Poor Iris has been sick for the past few days. I love how needy she gets, and how I get the opportunity to really respond to her needs when she's not feeling well. When she's sick she just wants TONS of snuggles and that's right up my alley :) Of course, our sleep schedule gets completely out of whack when she's sick. Today she was up screaming at 6:00 am, but finally fell back to sleep until 10:15! Woo Hoo! Mama finally got some rest. It was heavanly.