Tuesday, May 31, 2011

things worth remembering

How did I ever think that one baby was hard?

Backing up: One baby is hard, especially if it's your first baby. I try to think back to when Luna was born- besides her specific issues (which are a whole 'nother post in itself- NICU, questions, worries, etc., etc.) there were all kinds of new things to adjust to. Breastfeeding. Waking up at all hours of the day (and night). Poop explosions. Doctors visits. The fact that your whole life turns upside down trying to fit this new little person into it.

I remember a day from the first week that Luna was home. It was Christmas-time, my brother and sister-in-law were visiting, and we were supposed to go over to my parents house for dinner. Easy, right? Wrong- I just could not get it together to get out of the house. My timing was all off. Feeding Luna, pumping, taking a shower, eating something, getting dressed- it was so overwhelming, even with my mom and sister-in-law at the house to help. We eventually got out of the house- 3 hours later than we should have.

Fast forward to now. One baby? No problem. Easy. I could do it all day and all night, and be reasonably functional and relaxed. Granted, some of my standards have been relaxed- when was the last time that I washed my kitchen floor? Don't ask.

But two babies? Half the time I'm this close to falling over the edge. Over-the-top busy-ness and procrastination are my constant companions. Some days I feel like I live on a diaper changing assembly line. Right after I put toys away in the living room, they somehow are all over the bedroom. A baby needs to be held. A baby needs to be held. And burped. And.. something. Luna has a million appointments to go to each week. There is a stack of unopened mail that has been growing since March, haunting me. The bathroom sink is so disgusting I hate to look at it. I'm falling behind at work and spend precious time looking at all my stuff wondering how I can possibly start to catch up.

I went to catch up with my best friend yesterday, who I haven't seen in person for forever (she also has two little ones). She reminded me, and I have to remember this, that it doesn't last forever. The first months with a new baby are the hardest. It gets easier. It's true- I remember when Luna hit 6 months old thinking, This isn't so bad. I can do this.

Most days I do remember, and I also remember the flip-side to it- my babies won't be babies forever. Dakota is getting bigger every day. Soon she won't be snuggling in my arms. We won't have the quiet peace of a good breastfeeding session, when I can just sit there and feel her in my arms and marvel at how beautiful she is. I won't hear the heart-melting "goos" and "gahs" and see the big, open-mouthed smiles.

That's why I need to take time to sit and just be with my family. Play with them. Hold them while they sleep. Make kissy faces and have nonsensical conversations in baby language. Work will get done, eventually. The mail will get opened, one day. The bathroom sink will be dirty for the rest of my life. But I will never be able to get back this time, this moment, this opportunity to be with my daughters.

Sappy, yes, but worth remembering.

a silent moment

Monday, May 23, 2011

cradle cap

This baby.. if it's not one thing it's another. First the jaundice. Next, crazy bad newborn acne. Good news is the newborn acne is gone, revealing beautiful (if very sensitive) skin.

Now, the cradle cap. Scaly, gold, white and flaky. First it came on one part of her scalp, then started spreading across the scalp and down her face. She can't tell me, but I have to imagine that it is itchy or bothersome.

From what I have read, cradle cap is related to newborn acne, both being variations of seborrheic dermatitis.

One common remedy that I have heard of is olive oil, which seems a bit heavy and messy for her skin. Another common treatment is shampooing with a dandruff shampoo, but the idea of all of those chemicals on her sensitive newborn head scares me.

I've put jojoba oil on her skin since she was born, and she hasn't had any reactions to it, so I decided to use this recipe that I found in Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child. I modified it a little to only use jojoba oil instead of an even mix with avocado oil.

Mix in a clean glass jar:
1 ounce jojoba oil
1 drop tea tree essential oil
1 drop lemon essential oil
1 drop orange essential oil

Massage a small amount on head, working into scales. Avoid face area. Leave on for 3-5 minutes. Afterwards, shampoo scalp gently with a mild shampoo (we use California Baby) and rinse thoroughly. Brush gently with a soft bristled brush. Repeat 2-3 times a week, or every day if very bad.

We saw improvements right away! It stopped spreading to her face, and is much, much less flaky. I'm curious to see what comes after the cradle cap....

UPDATE 5/31/11: 2 weeks later, and the cradle cap is 99% gone (but watch for it to get worse for a couple of days before it gets better, as the scales start to come off in force)!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I love my children so much, sometimes it scares me. I know that this comes with the territory, but I wasn't prepared for how ferociously I feel this love.

I felt this way with Luna, and now it seems to have intensified with Dakota. Maybe it's the breastfeeding hormones that are coursing through my body that make the feelings seem stronger. Maybe it's part of the bonding process that Dakota and I are going through. Maybe it's just something that naturally grows each day through one's life with their children.

I find myself being extremely defensive of them, especially of my little baby. Someone can suggest something that might be harmful to them, or something that could happen in the future, and I instinctively go to hold them closer. I understand the feeling that you could kill for your child.

On the flip side, I also worry more, about huge things that I have no control over- what if there was a nuclear war? What if some crazy natural disaster came through and something horrible happened to one of them? Or what if it happened to me and Dustin, and the babies were left to fend for themselves?

I especially worry about Luna- I see these stories about horrible people that take advantage of mentally handicapped people and I want to cry. What is wrong with people? At least with this, I know that I have wonderful family that would jump to take care of her- this makes me feel better. I wish everyone could feel so secure.

My love for them also makes me feel happy. I have 2 beautiful girls that I get the privilege of watching grow. I get to hug them and kiss them, play games with them and cuddle them. These are the thoughts that I treasure at night, and that help me to fall asleep. I have never been so sure of anything in my life like I am of my love for them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Our links are here!

A couple of months ago, one of Luna's therapists recommended that we get some of those plastic baby rings that link together. Fine, great, no problem- except when I started searching for some that were BPA free I found nothing. So I held off on buying any, figuring that it was just a matter of time before some brand came out with ones that were BPA free.

The wait was worth it! Yesterday we got these eco-friendly corn teething links from Dandelion.

6 links- 2 red, 2 green and 2 yellow, made from cornstarch bio-plastic (I know, supporting corn subsidies, but I'll accept that trade-off). No BPA, phthalates, pvc or lead.

Each color has a different design for sensory play- my favorite are the yellow links that have little stars all over them.

The links can be played with alone, linked together, attached onto a bar, or worn as a cute little baby bracelet- not an advertised use, but very adorable. Luna has already spent some good time playing with them, and Dakota likes to look at them dangling.

I even tried to break one and couldn't. Score!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

baby sweet potatoes

messy sweet potato face
Luna loves her sweet potatoes, without a doubt. If you have to ask why, well, have you tasted a plain sweet potato recently? Anyone who thinks that vegetables are by nature bland most surely has never tasted one. These things are sugary delicious! Luna must think that every sweet potato meal that we give her is an extra-long dessert time.

The biggest confusion that I have always had with sweet potatoes are the difference between them and yams. Turns out that most "yams" that we offer in american supermarkets are actually orange versions of sweet potatoes. This includes garnet "yams", Luna's favorite type of sweet potato.

The most common ways to cook sweet potatoes are boiling, steaming or roasting. I like to roast Luna's sweet potatoes- mostly because it's the easiest way... At about 11:00 I throw one in the oven and by 12:30 she has a hot and tasty lunch.

Roasted Baby Sweet Potato
6 months and up

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Scrub sweet potato and cut off any bad spots. Poke holes on all sides with a fork or knife.

3. Cook for 45 minutes- 1 hour. Sweet potato is done when you can stick a fork or knife through it easily.

4. Take out of oven and let cool. Peel skin off and mash. Depending on the age of the baby, add water, formula, breast milk or milk to get to the consistency that you want. At first, Luna ate a very watery sweet potato puree. These days (17 months old), I don't add any liquid- just mash.

Just be prepared for orange poop. :)

gimme more sweet potatoes, lady!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

luna update - standing

Luna got her stander!

Another contraption lent to us by our therapists from ECSE. Dustin calls it "the rack". It now replaces "the electric chair"(the seat used to help her sit up) in our house. Which is great news- Luna no longer needs her chair to sit and play! Hopefully we'll have the same success with the stander.

Luna was very happy in it right away. We will be using it for 15 minutes at a time, 1-2 times a day. It is supposed to help her weight-bearing on her legs and feet and build up muscle tone. Our therapist said that families usually use it for about a month until they don't need it any more. 

Can't wait to see what it will do for her!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

toddler=frat party

Been up since 4 am (Thanks Dakota!)- need something to make me laugh. Found it! Courtesy of Sh*t My Kids Ruined:

Why Having a Toddler is Like Being at a Frat Party

10. There are half-full, brightly-colored plastic cups on the floor in every room. Three are in the bathtub.
9. There’s always that one girl, bawling her eyes out in a corner.
8. It’s best not to assume that the person closest to you has any control over their digestive function.
7. You sneak off to the bathroom knowing that as soon as you sit down, someone’s going to start banging on the door.
6. Probably 80% of the stains on the furniture contain DNA.
5. You’ve got someone in your face at 3 a.m. looking for a drink.
4. There’s definitely going to be a fight.
3. You’re not sure whether anything you’re doing is right, you just hope it won’t get you arrested.
2. There are crumpled-up underpants everywhere.
1. You wake up wondering exactly how and when the person in bed with you got there.
life at the frat house

mothers day 2011

There is not much better than laying in bed cuddling with babies, as well as breakfast in bed and sleeping in! I didn't get out of bed until 2 pm. I think Mothers Day should be once a month, not once a year!

Monday, May 9, 2011


These days I do all kinds of things with my feet.

Ok, backing up: I've always picked up things with my toes- chap stick, hair ties, anything that has fallen on the floor, shampoo bottles in the shower.

I'm convinced that it is a genetic trait, given to only certain members of the family- me, my brother, my niece. Luna seems to be developing this trait too- I've watched her pick up books with her feet. The girl can barely do a lot of things, but she has already figured out her feet-pick-up skills. Amazing.

Anyways, this trait is working out to be on my side these days- bending up and down in a Moby is hard work! So I use my feet to their full advantage- I pick up toys, blankets, clothes, dishes, books.. I'm still working on my ability to pick up a child (just a little heavy).

Judge me as a freak if you must. My monkey toes have finally revealed their purpose.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

taming the colic monster

Dakota has colic. Somewhere around 5:00 in the afternoon our cute baby gets taken over by a crazy, screaming, chicken-head bobbing creature. At two months old, it's not as severe as it was at one month, but it is still hard to deal with. I dread getting home from work at 6:15 and walking into a crazy house.

Reading articles that talk about how there is no remedy for colic is depressing, but somewhat misleading. No, you can't cure colic. I've come to terms with that. Eventually it will go away (Of course, everything that I read said that it disappears around three months, but my doctor informed me oh-so-nicely that sometimes it lasts until 6 months).

In an effort to keep from going crazy, we've found some things that help- not cure, but help:

1. Reading The Happiest Baby on the Block. While I was pregnant with Dakota I found this book at Arc for 39 cents- I think some angel knew that I was going to walk in there and say, "So cheap! What the hell." Thank you angel. Even though my doctor had something to say on Dr. Harvey Karp's "pseudo-science", he agreed that the methods that he outlines in the book do work.

Karp outlines the "5 S's System" in detail: Swaddling, Side/Stomach position, Shushing, Swinging and Sucking. Sometimes all at once!

2. Using the Moby wrap. I know I have said this before, but Moby, you are a god-send. It can be a pain to put on at first, but you get used to it. Now I can put it on and have her snuggled inside in under a minute. I think she likes the wrapped tight feeling- so secure. She can rest her face on my chest and feel my heart beat. Almost as good as being in the womb!

You can also go on with your life since your hands are free- ESSENTIAL, especially if you have other children. Or want to eat. Or go to the bathroom. You get the drift.

3. Shushing. Making loud- sometimes very loud- shushing noises in her ear. Dr. Karp talks about how the womb is a noisy place, and this reminds them of being in the womb. Vacuuming does the same thing, but who can vacuum for hours at a time? Who would want to?

4. Music. Calming music- New Age seems to work best (thanks Soundscapes channel!). I also love the Rockabye Baby series- because I actually enjoy listening to it too.

5. Singing. My voice is horrible, and I really don't know any lullabies, but Dakota doesn't seem to care. I make up silly songs about washing the dishes or how I'm going to bang my head against the wall and as long as I have a soothing voice, it's all good.

6. Swaddling. This worked well during her first month. I like the Summer Infant Organic swaddler, since it has velcro and I have never been good at doing a tight swaddle with blankets.

7. Swinging. We found a used swing at Once Upon a Child for Luna, who never really liked it, but we are definitely getting our moneys worth with Dakota. Very useful when you want to do things like take a shower, get dressed, or play with boiling water (all things you should NOT do with the Moby...).

Tip: always have extra batteries on hand for when they run out at 11:30 at night or during a blizzard. Because they will.

8. Walking. I get Dakota in the Moby and walk. I've tried dancing, bouncing, spinning, and marching, but she seems to like walking the best. I walk until she falls asleep. Sometimes I line dance (walk in a square), and she seems to like that as well. Bonus: Exercise!

9. Being in the kitchen. Why? I don't know. I thought it was the light, but my dad suggested the other day that maybe the smell is comforting. Could be- newborns have a highly developed sense of smell. I spend a lot of time cooking, so perhaps she remembers the smells and the sounds from when she was in the womb. So when she is really crazy, throwing her in the Moby and going to cook or do some dishes almost always calms her to sleep.

10. Warm bath. This is something new that we are trying- we both spend some time unwinding in a warm bath together. I don't know if it helps overall, but I do know that she is smiling and not crying when we are in the bath. Plus, it's great bonding time!

11. Sucking. Pacifiers are great. I know I will be cursing them in about a year when she won't give them up, but that is something that I am willing to deal with (Remind me in a year that I said that)!

12. Taking a break. I think this one is the most important. At the moment when you are ready to throw the baby (or better yet, before that moment hits), take a break. If your partner is there, hand the baby off and leave the room for a couple of minutes. Breathe. If no one is there, it's still okay to just set the baby down in a safe place and walk away for a couple of minutes. Call someone and tell them how you're feeling- sometimes talking can help you feel much better, especially if it's another mama friend who knows exactly what you are feeling.

Better to take a break and leave the baby crying than do something horrible to the baby. I never could understand how people could harm a baby until I experienced first hand what it's like to be sleep-deprived and in possession of a baby who is seemingly possessed by the devil. Always take a break.

Notice that riding around in the car is not on this list. First, it doesn't always work, and second, just because she is asleep in the car doesn't mean she'll stay that way. Third, and most important, have you seen how much gas is these days?!? Plus, my daughter does not need to contribute to our shrinking ozone layer. Walking works just as well, if not better.

As I write this, Dakota is asleep in her swing (I almost don't even dare write that in case I am jinxing myself). It took me 2 hours of work to get her there, but this beautiful silence was worth it...
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