Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Goldie Locks has found a new bed...

This morning, I found my daughter sleeping in the crib with her little brother again.
She had once crawled in the bassinet with her brother when he was about a month old.
Now, on those occasions when she wants to sleep with mommy and is told to go back to her own bed;
she instead sneaks into the crib with her brother.
I'm not quite sure how to react to the behavior yet.
My husband often works out of the country and is gone from 2 weeks to 6 weeks at a time. During the last several trips, his absence has been harder on our daughter. I know she is only seeking more attention and affection. Snuggling up is her favorite form of affection.
As for now, I'm not scolding her for sleeping in the crib with her brother. She's doing no harm or maybe it's because it's just so darn cute...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gas Stove Incident

So I evacuated my apartment last night. I scooped up my kids into my arms and ran downstairs to my neighbors (neither of whom answered their doors). I suddenly wished I had grabbed my cell phone...
I had been eating my dinner and heard the stove ticking. Ticking like when you turn the knob to light the burner. I looked down at the Marie Calendar Italian trio frozen dinner that I had heated up in the oven. Why was the stove ticking? I quickly retraced my previous steps in the kitchen. I removed the cookie sheet holding my dinner from the oven...As I was setting the sheet down on the stove, I lost my grip and the cookie sheet fell to the stove...sliding and knocking over a near-by glass of water which exploded all over the kitchen floor...I swept and vacuumed the kitchen...I reheated my frozen dinner in the microwave and finally sat down to enjoy my lazy meal.
I continued to hear the ticking and thought maybe the force of the cookie sheet falling on the stove had moved a knob. I sniffed the air. I didn't smell any gas. I went into the kitchen and still could not smell gas or hear it escaping from the burners. I turned the knobs hoping to stop the sparking. I lifted the stovetop and found water had collected inside from my broken water glass. The stove continued its attempts to ignite thus the ticking continued. Although I felt sure the gas was not on, I took my cue and fled the apartment with my kids. I just needed reassurance from a neighbor and wanted one of them to help me fix the stove. Apparently, my neighbors weren't home. I kept a calm composure for my kids, but inside my heart raced. I took a deep breath and assured myself there was no gas leak. I returned to the apartment. I put the kids in their room and located the number for the gas company. I called the number and within a few minutes a customer service rep assured me that my family and I were safe. She informed me that it's very common for a stove to "tick" after becoming wet. She told me to unplug the stove. Okay, call me D-U-M-B, but I had no idea where the electric plug was for the gas stove? I searched and found the plug inside the cabinet below the stove. I unplugged the stove and the ticking stopped. Currently the stove is airing out. I will call a technician to take care of it.
(1) If something spills on your gas stovetop, the stove may start "ticking." Make sure the knobs are turned off and unplug the stove.
And this incident also reminded me...
(2) Buy stove knob protectors so your kids can never accidentally or purposely turn on the stove or oven.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Pain-free Child Birth...

...sounds like an oxymoron, right? My friend is a registered Doula (birthing assistant). She swore to me that both her natural births performed at home were pain-free. Her technique was a mixture of meditation and the ancient sound of "AH." (As in God, Allah, etc) Now before you make any judgments, read on. I had never in my life performed any sort of meditation. As I listened to my friend, I was skeptical. But, I knew I was having a natural, non-epidural birth. (I had no choice. In May of 2000, I had surgery for a herniated disk. A tiny bit of my spine is missing rendering an epidural useless.) I continued to listen to my friend with an open mind. She gave me a meditation tape to practice uttering the ancient sound of "ah." The trick is to use your diaphragm when expressing this sound. By using the diaphragm, you're making it impossible to tense up. Our natural reaction to pain is to tense up, therefore we actually increase the pain. During the phase of labor when your cervix is opening up, the contractions are very strong and the most painful. When the contraction begins, relax and using your diaphragm say "aaaaahhh." I started off the contractions chanting "ah" and ended up yelling "AH" through most of it, yet all the while I used my diaphragm. I couldn't tense up and the sound coming from deep in my gut helped me tremendously during each contraction. The process made labor pains bearable (no pun intended). Plus, I lost myself during the chanting or yelling and stopped focusing on the pain. This technique worked for both my births because I practiced it for several months. My friend also gave me her Joy in Birthing CD* which I listened to at bedtime. Several times, I fell asleep while listening to the tape-it's that relaxing. I also followed my friend's other suggestions to better prepare for birth; including perineal massage and Kegel exercises. Perineal massage helps to stretch the birth canal and prevent tearing or need for an episiotomy. Kegel exercises condition the muscles to ease the birthing process.
I'm forever grateful to my friend although I can't say my labor was pain-free. It was pain-tolerable.
Aedan 8lbs 10oz
*I highly recommend purchasing the CD for yourself or someone expecting-Check out my friend's website-(she's also listed in my links) Joy In Birthing

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Gymnastics makes kids smarter!

"Why gymnastics...for my preschooler?
Early physical development contributes directly to early intellectual growth. Gymnastics has been recognized as an activity that contributes directly to the growth of the areas of the brain responsible for coordination and body control. The more your child is involved in these activities at a young age, the better their physical and mental development will be for life.Child development experts also know that during the formative years, acquiring healthy learning attitudes is far more important than the mastery of specific skills."
(from Kindergym website)
I recently discovered how important it is for my kids to participate in sensory motor skill activities. It makes them smarter!! My daughter is currently enrolled in gymnastics and soon my son will join too. According to KinderGym, brain research over the past 50 years has demonstrated a direct mind/body connection. During the first two years of a child's life, various sensory motor skills are developed. Gymnastics emphasizes movement, thus building sensory motor skills. Gymnastics, unlike other sports, develops the ability to know where the body is in space. Plus, such activities increase self-confidence, muscular development, balance and listening skills. For kids especially at the pre-school level, gymnastics can *enhance reading scores as well. (*if you click this link-scroll down and then click the rainbow box to view reading article)
My daughter loves "nastics" and can do more in just 6 weeks of classes than I ever imagined. It's amazing how quickly the kids learn and perform each gymnastics move. I thought I had to wait until my son was older to participate, but there are classes for infants too-with parental assistance.

Learning a foreign language or playing an instrument are also great activities for preschool age children. The brain grows at an astonishing rate during the first 6 years of life and can easily absorb all that information and if not forced on the child can be lots of FUN!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Classic Moment in Parenting...

My family went out to lunch this weekend. It was a nice treat. I look forward to eating out because overall the kids are pretty good at restaurants. We put our son in a high chair and I grabbed a booster seat for our daughter. She insisted on also sitting in a high chair. I tried explaining that she was a big girl, but ultimately indulged her as there was really no harm. The kid-friendly restaurant provided the kids with crayons and kid menus to color. My son just loves to drop objects on the ground and pushed his colors off the table. Therefore, my daughter thought it was funny to follow suit. As I attempted to stop her, I spilt her lemonade all over her lap. The same lemonade I told her to "be very careful not to spill." Well, she went ballistic! And I felt terrible. I carried my daughter outside so she could calm down and allow the other restaurant patrons to enjoy a more peaceful meal. I apologized to my daughter and explained that if she calmed down we could go back inside and get another lemonade. She told me, "I stop crying mommy." Oh, what relief! The traffic outside the restaurant no longer needed to slow down to see the spectacle that was my daughter and her rather hefty lungs. We returned to our table with the rest of the family. I sank back into the deep booth and desperately wanted a sip of my beer. I grabbed my drink and chalk it up to baby brain or the chaos that had just ensued, I almost drank my son's milk. I grabbed his bottle! I froze. Did anyone else see my goof? I met eyes with the table across the from me- three frat-looking guys with smirks on their faces. There was no turning back. I lifted my drink to them or... in my case...a baby bottle. Cheers!
honest mistake, right?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Labor Sickness

Prior to getting pregnant, I had heard plenty about morning sickness. I'd never heard anything about labor sickness. I was completely caught off guard. I went into labor with my daughter in the early evening of Saturday, June 29th, 2002. It was a full moon and I just knew my baby was arriving that night. Once the hard labor pains (which feel like your worst drop-you-to-your-knees PMS or gas cramps times 100) were becoming 5 mins apart, I became violently ill. The hormone fluxuation made me physically ill as is the case with morning sickness-though I had it coming out of both ends. IT WAS AWFUL. The vomiting and diarrhea threw off my contractions too. Soon, they became farther apart and there was no longer a need to go to the hospital. I continued to feel labor pains sporadically. As soon as the time between the contractions narrowed to around 5 mins, the sickness returned. On Monday, July 1st, I called my doctor's office to inform them I was still experiencing contractions and was still sick. My doctor (whom I dearly love) assumed that I had contacted a virus and suggested safe medicines to ease the symptoms. I knew this was no virus-I was only ill during the most painful contractions. But, not knowing other women have suffered through this same scenario, I just dealt with it. The next day, I called the doctor's office. I received the same response from the doctor's nurse. She told me, "It's probably a virus, when you have the real contractions, you'll know-they won't stop." Again, I dealt with it-what did I know about having babies? On July 3rd, my mom remembered going through the same thing during her labor with me. That was enough reassurance for me that I know my body. I called the doctor that day and demanded they see me, "I'm in labor and it's making me ill and causing the contractions to slow down. I'm so weak from vomiting and diarrhea. I'm coming in." When I entered the doctor's office, the nurses' mouths dropped open. I swear my doctor's eyes watered up. They felt horrible. They knew I was very ill. My eyes were dark from no sleep and I was quite pale-no glow of a pregnant lady here. The nurse weighed me and I had lost 8 pounds-when you're pregnant that is a very bad thing. I was immediately hospitalized and given 3 IV bags to re-hydrate me. I was also given some phenagrin to stop the nausea and diarrhea. It was then I found out that dehydration also interferes with contractions. The doctor ran multiple tests of every organ to make sure I didn't have a virus. I did not. I was induced Friday, July 5th. At the hospital, once the pitocin took affect and the contractions got closer together, I became violently ill. I showed them. The doctor apologized for not understanding my situation. I felt alien though-if my doctor wasn't familiar with labor sickness-was I an oddity? Several nurses took care of me during my hospital stay and they told me similar stories of women becoming ill during labor. I finally felt reassurance that I wasn't alone. Now, I wonder which is worse-three months of morning sickness or this?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bouncing Back

2002 (1 kid) 2005 (2 kids)
So after the birth of my first child, I was one of those lucky mommies. My stomach became flat again shortly after my daughter was born. I chalked it up to good genes because my mom bounced back to her original figure too.
Well, that's not the whole story... Immediately following the birth, I was the Pilsbury Dough Boy. My belly was pliable and swallowed any fingers that poked at it. My stomach was flat, but couldn't someone have told me it was going to feel like jello? Breastfeeding definitely helped the sponge that was my stomach firm up and fast.
Even after the birth of my second child, my stomach is still flat. However, bouncing back after the birth of my son took much longer.
And unfortunately, I ended up with saggy, extra skin. It's gross and I shouldn't have been so surprised. I'm very petite and I gained 40 pounds and it was all belly. You rarely (if ever) hear about excess skin-but I'm seeing more about it on those reality, plastic surgery shows. If I stand up straight and tall-as pictured above-you wouldn't notice it.
Therefore, you'll never see me bend over to pick up anything.
Once it's bathing-suit season again, I'll be doing backbends to pick up the kids' sand pail and shovel.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Breast Engorgement

I already wrote about the after-effects of breastfeeding Well, before you begin breastfeeding the milk has to generate. During the process, many women suffer from engorgement. No one had told me about this, but I had read a little about it and felt somewhat prepared. When my breasts filled with milk and became engorged at the hospital, I thought I was a freak-of-nature. My modest 34C boobs ballooned to giant double d's. My breasts were so stretched and full, the skin was as shiny as an apple. Oh, and they HURT. I felt hard knots which I later discovered were the milk ducts. My chest was also covered with visible dark blue veins. I looked more like an extra from Interview with a Vampire than a new lactating mother. I wish I'd taken pictures to share as I would have felt more prepared for such a transformation had I seen photos before hand.
Most infants find it difficult to suckle from such engorged breasts. It's best to pump some of the excess milk. You don't want to pump too much though, because pumping imitates breastfeeding and your body produces milk according to how much is consumed. Until your body gets accustomed to a feeding schedule, the hospital suggests ice packs for the swelling and pain or hot pads or a hot shower. If you can stand the pressure of the shower spray, it does help the milk to empty. Sometimes a hot shower would cause my boobs to simply "leak" while other times my boobs turned into power-washers that could spray several feet. It's quite a spectacle and very surreal...
more tips for preventing & treating engorgement

Monday, January 16, 2006

Why I blog...someone should mention these things...

I was recently asked why I started blogging. My answer was this, in addition to great tips, I wanted moms-to-be and moms and anyone else who's interested to know everything about pregnancy and raising children-even the taboo topics other moms seem to "leave out" in order to not scare others from having children. Plus, I wanted to share not only the good but also the bad, the embarrassing, and the "am I fit to be a parent" moments we all go through (but usually only tell our closest confidant). I reread my first blog entry. I felt motherhood was like some sort of cult and there were certain things you couldn't or shouldn't know until you became a mom. It's ridiculous, really. I wish someone had warned me about all the physical and mental changes associated with birth and having children. Knowledge goes a long way...I plan to use this week to write more about the biggest issues I wished I'd known about during my pregnancy.
I'll start at the bottom-literally. Enemas are no longer standard practice for a woman in labor at the hospital. If you hadn't been warned and plan to have a natural birth, you have to "bear down" like your having a bowel movement. The force of the bearing down is not only going to push out the baby, it’s more than likely going to push out anything in your system. You never see a perfectly coiffed woman with just a touch of perspiration on film or TV soil herself just before the baby arrives. It happens. The nurses don’t care, the doctor doesn’t care, and neither will your husband/partner, doula or family. If the fear of the soiling possibility bothers you though, then you’ll need to have an enema at home or request one at the hospital if they do it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I have finally given up my favorite, feather "piwow" that I've carried around since I was a wee little girl. The pillow is unbelievably snuggly and somehow stays cool on my cheek throughout the night. My mom's mom made the pillow and it was my version of Linus' blanket.

-I drug my pillow with me to every room of my house as a small child.
-My pillow participated in many a pillow fight during my middle school years.
-My pillow went to college in the Piney Woods of East Texas.
-My pillow almost traveled on a 2-month honeymoon-backpacking-trek across Europe, but my husband insisted we pack light.

It took buying a new Sleep Number bed with memory foam pillows for me to finally separate from my favorite, feather pillow. I have now passed it down to my daughter. Having admitted to such an attachment, I doubt I could separate my kids from any objects they may form an attachment with. Currently, neither of my children are attached to anything-pacifier, blanket or stuffed animal. But, they are still very young. I wonder if I'll soon be frantically searching for my son's favorite teddy so he can go to sleep or if I'll nostalgically watch my daughter as she carries her favorite, feather pillow to her first sleepover...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Joke (but it's also a good lesson...)

This really had me laughing-Kids listen to and remember everything we say...

A college professor was doing a study testing the senses of first graders, using a bowl of lifesavers.
He gave all the children the same kind of lifesavers, one at a time, and asked them to identify them by color and flavor.

The children began to say:


Finally, the professor gave them all clear, honey-flavored lifesavers.
After eating them for a few moments, none of the children could identify the taste.
"Well," he said, "I'll give you all a clue. It's what your mother may sometimes call your father."
One little girl looked up in horror, spit hers out and yelled:
"Oh My God!!!! They're assholes!"

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sticker Shock!

I try my best keeping small parts away from my son. He is still at that stage when everything goes right into his mouth. It never occurred to me to be cautious of stickers. My daughter had a book which contained a few pages of stickers. I had no idea the stickers were in this book which I kept in her book basket in the kids' room. My daughter was playing with several books and must have come across the stickers. She stuck them all over her chair. My son managed to pull one of the stickers off of the chair and put it in his mouth. When I checked on the kids, my son was gagging. I thought I might have to perform CPR so I brought my son into the kitchen where the CPR poster is hanging-I wanted to make sure I remembered the proper steps & technique for infants. My son continued to gag and eventually vomited. I noticed a sticker stuck to his shirt sleeve. I assumed he'd swallowed a sticker. I couldn't figure out how CPR was going to dislodge something literally "stuck" in his mouth. Luckily, he never turned blue and continued crying and making noise. I knew he was still getting air. I didn't want to put my finger in his mouth and push the sticker further into his throat, but I just knew it was the only way I was getting this thing out. Slowly and carefully, I grabbed a sticker edge with my fingernail and dragged the sticker from my son's mouth.
I did some research on the internet this morning and found very little info about stickers and choking hazards, but I did find a few warnings posted in sticker books. I am so glad that I know about this now-although I wish I had known earlier. It does remind me that I need to get re-certified in child/infant CPR. Contact your local Red Cross chapter for classes.
I also own a simple cup device that allows you to test objects for choking hazards:

Friday, January 06, 2006

Who's the Boss?

When I picked up my daughter from day care yesterday, she was moderately upset. She informed me that the oldest boy in the group had told her she was not a "big girl." Suzie, the day care provider, told my daughter not to listen to the boy. She then said, "Who's the boss, him or Suzie?" To which my daughter replied, "ME!"

Oh, she's the boss alright...I can't wait until her brother is bigger than her!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Be Prepared for Family/Friend Visits...

I recently had an apartment full of company-my sister's entire family! They came to go to Disneyland and we celebrated the New Year together. It was crowded, but great fun. I'm glad I was prepared though.
There were a total of 4 adult and 6 kids ranging from 11-months to 12-years-old. I didn't just need extra pillows and an air mattress. We, unfortunately, don't have bunk beds or a trundle bed (good investments) so I set up the little tent my kids received from Santa and my daughter and her 4-year-old cousin enjoyed sleeping in there. It was perfect. My 5-year-old neice slept in my daughter's bed. My husband and I shared our bed with our son and let our 18-month-old nephew have the crib. I have sleeping bags (easy to store & kids love them) and made a palette for my 12-year-old nephew. My sister and her husband used the air mattress.
I made sure I had toys/activities for all the different ages so nobody got bored or ended up only watching TV. I remembered most of the snacks and food my nieces and nephews liked and stocked up. It's a good idea to ask if you don't already know. Having everything prepared made the visit very stress free-I only wish I had a house and not a 2-bedroom apartment! I can't wait until the next visit! Happy New Year!