Me and my girls

Me and my girls

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Here we go again - Teething Horrors

Parenthood is full of surprises. After I had Ainsley, I felt like I was on a battle field dodging one bullet after another. There was always something that threatened Ainsley's mood whether it was sleeping, eating or diapering. After 3 months I was starting to feel good. We had developed a routine, I thought I knew her pretty well and then the teething started.

I didn't know it was teething at first. Ainsley would go through fussy periods for no reason and we didn't know why. She didn't have any of the 'usual' teething signs. She didn't put anything in her mouth, didn't have a fever and she never drooled. These moods came and went over the next few months and we just told ourselves that maybe she was having a growth spurt or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

At 7 months, Ainsley got her first teeth and for a few weeks her temperament was great. The light bulb went off. Those months of mood swings were teething related!! Ahhhh!!!! Now we got it. Then we realized she had only gotten 2 teeth and had 14 left to go!!!! Nobody told us about this!! Teething can make the sweetest baby a terror when they are in pain and there's nothing you can do about it (Tempra didn't make a difference with Ainsley and I didn't want to use any 'holistic' products out of fear of allergies).

After two years of on and off teething, we are still waiting for Ainsley to cut her final set of molars. Every once in awhile, she sticks her hands in her mouth and now that she talks she can tell us her mouth hurts.

So we have almost gotten through one child's teething process and now we are entering another. Juliet is 6 months old and she is teething with a vengeance. It affects her sleep and a usually easy baby becomes very agitated. She even tries to bite our faces: HARD!!! This time around we know what to expect and are prepping ourselves for the worst. At least this time we know we will get through it and see our happy baby again between teething episodes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not doing it all is OK

I think the biggest thing a mom struggles with is "doing it all". I found a post at which asked how do other moms "do it all" as a stay at home mom. She is struggling with balancing her time with her kids and doing the housework. I am a stay at home mom as well of a 2 1/4 year old and a 6 month old. It is busy. My 2 year old is incredibly active and we cannot stay at home in the morning. I have come up with a number of ways to find some time to get housework done.

Now, this may not work for everyone but one suggestion is to have someone else come in to clean 1 or 2 times a month. Depending on where you live the cost of this can be $45-$100 per day. I have someone come twice a month and she does the dusting and major cleaning of the house. With the economy as it is, we may have to cut down to once a month but this is a necessity in our household. Another option is to share the major cleans with your hubbie over the weekend and take turns with the kids.

Another thing that has helped me is that I have found a co-operative nursery school in our area that Ainsley goes to 3 days per week. The cost is approximately $200 per month but it gives me time to get stuff done while Juliet has her morning nap and I also get to spend one-on-one time with her. Again, this may not be an option for some but a suggestion would be to try and find another mom in your neighbourhood to share babysitting so that you could get housework done.

As for the daily grind ie. dishes, laundry etc....I do dishes while Ainsley has her lunch or snacks and during this time Juliet now can eat her Mum Mum crackers in the high chair and this gives me about 10-15 minutes to rush around and do as much tidying in the kitchen as I can get done. Laundry is never ending as every mother knows but we have worked out a system that my hubbie will put the laundry through and I fold at night while I watch TV.

With these little tips/suggestions that I use, I have lots of time with my children throughout the day. My house is not perfect and I am now ok with that. It took me awhile to get to this place but I have realized that playing with my kids is THE most important thing and that they will not remember that my house was messy. They will remember the fun things we do together. And as for having guests over, if they are other moms, I don't care because most of the time their houses are just as messy as mine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Resolution

We've all heard of New Year's Resolutions. I know I've made a few. i always find the winter so uninspiring that this year I have decided to use my love of summer to focus on a healthier me. My summer's resolution is to eat better and work out regularly.

I love the summer. The fruit is great as are fresh vegetables. What better season to start eating healthier than the summer. I could eat berries or peaches all day. I have bought a new cookbook which is suprisingly good. It is the new Weight Watchers cookbook. I am finding the recipes very tasty and so is my hubbie. A good start. I love to cook but since having children it's a challenge fitting it in the schedule. However, this cookbook claims that all of their recipes can be done in 20 minutes. So far this seems to be true. I am all for speedy solutions.

As for the work out regularly. This may be more of a challenge. I am working on getting my youngest into a sleep routine which means the stroller for long walks is off limits as she will fall asleep. My solution has been to order excercise videos on line. I haven't received them yet but I fully intend to work out 3-4 times per week. If all goes according to plan and Juliet and Ainsley both nap in the afternoons then I will have time to work out. If not, I will be working out in the evenings. At least television sucks in the summer (not including So You Think You Can Dance), yet another reason summer is a better time to try my resolutions.

Well, wish me luck. I will keep you posted on my success.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sleep - a luxury for parents

I have been searching for sites that provide information to parents and I came across which lists questions and answers for parents. In particular I came across a whole slew of questions regarding sleep. I felt that considering the amount of time and energy I spent on this issue when I first had Ainsley, I would share some of the tips and light bulb moments I had.

The first night that Ainsley was born she slept all night. Unfortunately, the other baby we were sharing a hospital room with did not and I was cursing it and its parents for not letting me sleep. I thought my baby is perfect. She's already sleeping like a champ. Well, I was in for a rude awakening. Ainsley was not a sleepy baby AT ALL. She would sleep for 40 minute stretches as the most and she had to be in the baby bjorn, stroller or car seat and we had to be moving much of this time. The best thing I did as a new parent was enroll in a new moms class. This was the first step (although I did not know it) towards sleep success. I was able to chat with other moms and found out that the majority of us were not getting much sleep and it wasn't that something was wrong. Being able to commiserate with other moms was wonderful and it helped keep me sane in the early months. I highly recommend all new parents to take a class such as this or join a moms group for support.

In this class I was introduced to Marc Weissbluth's book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". I devoured this book hoping for a ray of light on the sleep issues. I found this book very helpful as it explained what was happening developmentally with my child and thus set some expectations as to what Ainsley could do sleep wise and what she couldn't. I also read Ferber's book as well for a 2nd opinion. As a result, I was able to put together what I had learned from each book and devise a sleep solution that worked for Ainsley and our parenting style. I worked very hard on getting Ainsley to learn how to fall asleep on her own for both naps and nighttime. It was a long and stressful process. I often called my husband crying as Ainsley cried in her crib but I was determined to teach her to fall asleep on her own. It took about a month but it finally worked. The strategy I used was the gradual extinction as explained by Weissbluth. I would leave Ainsley to cry for 5 minutes and then go in and pat her tummy. I would leave her for longer and longer periods of time until she fell asleep. Eventually I could put her down for her nap awake and she would chat for a bit and fall asleep. It was wonderful!!!

This lasted until about 10 months and then she started teething. We started having trouble putting her to bed at night. When once we would get a big smile before bedtime, we were now greeted with screams and Ainsley would not go to bed before 10pm. At this time she started sleeping through the night. We finally decided it was time to let her "Cry it out" as explained by Ferber. It broke my heart to hear her cry so I went out with my moms group for dinner and Brett stayed home. She cried for 40 minutes the first night and slept through and then 15 minutes the next night and slept through. That was it. From then on she went to bed and slept through with no complaints. This has continued except for teething and illnesses.

It took a lot of advice, reading and a tough resolve but we were able to get through sleep issues and gain more sleep for ourselves. Now that she is a toddler we have other issues, but I will address those later. For parents struggling with sleep, be assured that eventually it will fall into place and that it can be a challenge but if you are committed you will have success. Happy Sleeping everyone.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lament for my Laptop

I purchased my very first laptop last summer as I was contracted to do consulting from home and I wanted to be able to work from the cottage (I am a Canadian :>). At first it was a bit odd not working from a desktop but I got used to it so much so that my laptop and I were joined at the hip.

Then it happened.....a few weeks ago, the port for the charger started to loosen and it got harder and harder to charge the laptop. As we all know, the point of a laptop is that you can take it anywhere as you can charge it and go. So this was a big problem. I put off taking my laptop to get fixed as I was in denial and hoped the problem would somehow fix itself. I know, not likely.

So finely I realised that I must take it in and I did that a week ago tomorrow. I have been missing my laptop ever since. I still have the good old desk top but it's just not the same. I can't check my emails as much as I have to go all the way down to the basement and the computer is a lot slower then the laptop. Finding time to visit with the desktop is tough with two young children, one of which has strong opinions and often does not want to accompany me thus causing me to abort my plan.

I am counting down the days until said laptop is fixed. They told me 3-4 weeks but I will definitely be calling them at 2 weeks just to check in.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Downside of Playdates - Germs!!!

I never thought about my children getting sick before I had them. I was lucky with Ainsley in that she didn't get her first cold until after her 1st birthday and then it was very mild. Her first real illness was the stomach flu last August which went through our household and to her grandparents and aunt.

Over the past year, we have had many playdates and have had a number of calls after the playdate warning us of illnesses. This has happened with school as well. We've been exposed to whooping cough, various gastro infections, lice, Fifth disease and now pneumonia. Luckily, Ainsley and Juliet have not caught any of the major illnesses thus far (we're waiting to see if pneumonia will strike as this happened over the weekend). Boy is this part stressful.

I hate it when the kids are sick. You can't really do much for them and they are so unhappy. Any time I hear of another kid getting sick I worry for days until we are sure they will not get the illness. Hopefully Ainsley's and Juliet's constitutions are strong and they will not get many illnesses. My doctor was quite surprised that at 2 Ainsley had not had an ear infection and had never been on antibiotics apart from the days after her birth.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!!