Archive for the 'Healthy kid' Category

Nogurt.

213406_7960Ollie and I went grocery shopping the other day. Just him and me. I told him he could pick out some things. Not “treats” for being good or just because – I wanted him to be part of the process of finding food for the week.

He wanted yogurt. I got him Dannon Oikos, one strawberry pack, one blueberry pack, which have about the fewest sugars of all the options I found (holler at me if you know of a lower one that does not use artificial sweeteners). He’s had a cup with every meal since we got them. He is a fiend. He scrapes the container for the very last bit. You know the milk mustache? I’ve been wiping off a yogurt ‘stach since yesterday. Immediate reaction: This brings my child so much joy and I’m a total jerk for not regularly buying yogurt. It’s JUST YOGURT.

Well, there is a pretty good reason.

I take issue with the marketing of yogurt as a healthy, wholesome  low-fat snack packed with fruit, calcium and probiotics. Talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Your average fruit yogurt has as much if not more sugar in it than a candy bar (I’m talking 30+ grams of sugar – yikes!). I wouldn’t give my kids candy as a midday snack or a side to a meal.  That’s basically what we’re talking about.

Not trying to make yogurt out to be a sort of pariah of the food pyramid. Like candy or ice cream, it’s fine as a once-in-awhile treat or snack. Personally, I buy plain Greek yogurt and use it as a sour cream sub. It is great in dips, on tacos, etc. You can also make your own flavors using plain yogurt and adding in  fresh fruit and spices, and have control over the amount of sweeteners you use.

There is something novel (not to mention convenient), I suppose, about a single-serve, ready-to-eat cup of yogurt, and that’s why it’s so popular – and that’s why my son is obsessed with it. I just hope people will heed  the facts. As for me, for  30+ sugars, I will take a Snickers bar, please.

A Cookie Story

Photo: BeeInOurBonnet

Photo: BeeInOurBonnet

Ollie and I made oatmeal cookies last night. They turned out misshapen and crumbly. Kind of an aesthetic disaster, but tasted fine. We kept them. I ditched the recipe.

I dubbed them Ugly Cookies and got in trouble. “That’s not a nice thing to say,” Ollie said.

Stupid is a bad word, too. Sometimes J or I say something is “stupid” in conversation with each other, and you’d be surprised how many times you hear “stupid” on TV, even (especially) kids’ shows. The Bad Word Police corrects us. He’s got some serious radar for forbidden words.

Mean words, bad words – whatever you call them at your house – they hurt, period. And I’m glad we’re making Ollie aware (and he, us). Kids, with their innocence and lack of a filter, say things that hurt sometimes out of sheer ignorance. That’s why having these discussions, often, matter. You know, so you don’t end up with a bigger kid with a  mean-word problem (aka: a bully).

I think Ollie has a good handle on things, but we will continue our diligence. And he will continue his.

The part that kills me is that I can’t control what other kids say to my child. In my personal experience, as a sensitive kid, mean words hurt, fester, then dissipate, but never actually leave. If you’re dubbed “dumb,” “ugly,” or “fat” among peers (or god forbid, adults), even if you aren’t, even if they grow up, even as time passes, even if they forget – you never forget. Even though mean words are completely illogical, completely absurd when you think about it with your adult mind, your child mind still hangs on.

I guess we just have to watch what we, the adults, say at home. Make sure we’re very careful about throwing around mean words, even if it’s a joke. Even if we’re literally poking fun of cookies – that we made. And keep nurturing confident kids and keep building our kids’ self worth so if mean words come their way (and they probably will), they feel good enough about themselves to know better. It’s all we can do. Now excuse me, I’m going to go have one of those, um, cookies.

Working Through My Baby & Mama Drama

I’m always pretty guarded about telling my children’s birth stories. Unless you ask. Then I will talk your ear off. First, everyone who has children has a birth story. Everyone thinks their story is pretty spectacular and dramatic. The truth is, birth is pretty miraculous. Saying you had a baby is saying it all.

I’m guarded because of guilt, I guess (what else is new?). We have two healthy, happy, thriving children and they were conceived with no trouble. Some people have a hell of a time conceiving. Some never are able to have babies. Some people have multiple miscarriages. Some people have a baby, but can’t bring baby home right away. Some people have a baby, but the baby doesn’t make it home. It goes on and on. So when I think about the little dramas I encountered in the maternity ward, they appear to be just that: Little. Not worth sitting here talking about. When I think of that, the little dramas fade. Then I feel particularly jerky and guilty for wanting to talk about our birth stories.

BUT, all of us parents can agree that it’s VERY therapeutic to talk about our birth stories. And I am all about talking, writing and working through our traumas to move forward. And I really feel like I’m at a place, seven months postpartum, that’s I’m ready to talk about Delilah’s birth story, get it out of my system and continue moving forward.

Our drama began when I was doing kangaroo care with Delilah just minutes after I was in recovery after my c-section. She was making some funny breathing sounds – what I thought were cute newborn baby noises. But it alarmed the nurse and she took Delilah away. She was having trouble breathing. Then she stopped breathing and they had to put her on oxygen in the NICU. Honestly, I was not worried. We were in the best possible place for infant care. I trusted what was happening in the NICU. The doctors were very forthcoming with detailed information about what was going on. And as much as I wanted to have our baby room in with us as we did with Ollie, I was kind of looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Is that selfish? Probably. I was on pain meds, recovering from a c-section. I was exhausted and doped up and I just wasn’t too worried. She was healthy for the first nine months, she’d be fine.

When the breathing problem went away, suddenly Delilah wasn’t keeping down her fluids so they gave her an IV to keep her hydrated. In her goddamned forehead. They told us, “It looks barbaric, but it’s the best vein.” Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. They put a little bow near the IV site. OK, just fix her!

I gimped over to the NICU as often as possible to nurse. I pumped like a madwoman filing little vials with colostrum so the nurses could give that to her in between.

Her condition improved and we were able to go home in the standard four days for c-section births. But her interventions didn’t end there. She spit up a lot. I’ve never been a big milk producer, so I felt so defeated when I’d nurse for a half hour and she’d spit up half of the milk. She spit up the formula I was supplementing with. And she wasn’t particularly happy. Then I began finding blood in her stools. After some labs, her pediatrician deducted she had a milk allergy that was straining her and giving her pain. We had to put her on this special formula that is approximately $261 a can. But the blood went away and the colic subsided and she became much happier overall. And so did we.

mommy

Clockwise from top left: Kangaroo time – I had no idea her cute baby sounds were alerting us that she was having trouble breathing. In the NICU. All better and finally able to room in with us. Very proud big brother Ollie meeting Delilah for the first time.

So whatever. You do what you need to do. She’s absolutely doing fine now. I’m a little leery about the transition from this magic formula to regular formula as far as when that’s going to happen and how she’s going to react, and then how the transition to cow’s milk is going to go. I hope the allergy doesn’t stay with her forever. But if it does, we’ll figure it out.

So sitting here with a very happy, healthy, giggly, pink-cheeked redheaded spitfire of a girl, it’s really hard to lament without sounding like an ingrate. But I think the trauma of all of that has weighed on me and I’m now starting to want to get it out so I can move on.

And that’s not all. We had another blow at the hospital.

A NICU nurse pulled a vial of my colostrum from the fridge and gave it to another woman’s baby. The other mom saw my name on the vial’s label and flipped. I don’t blame her. The fuck?

That just made me mad. Mad for me for the embarrassment and inconvenience of having to get blood work done to prove I don’t have HIV/AIDS/hep. Mad for the other mom who found out her baby got some random woman’s milk who, for all she knew, had HIV/AIDS/hep/crack addiction/zombie DNA. Mad for everyone who puts trust in hospitals and their healthcare staffs. And mad at the dingbat nurse who fucked up. Even more mad for her manner of sharing the bad news. I was having a private moment nursing my baby and catching up with my sister when she peeked in looking like someone just died and said she had horrible news, proceeding to tell me how she fucked up. Which, yes, is horrible and needed to be communicated to me pretty immediately, but certainly there was a better way. Like in private without the imminent-end-of-the-world facial expression and tone. I realize to her, fucking up could cost her her job, so maybe it was the end of the world to her, but chill. I was in a delicate state as it was – baby in the NICU, I’m recovering from a major surgery, on meds, not in the best mental state. I basically fell apart. Blubbering like a damn fool.

I would have been royally screwed if a) my husband wasn’t the rock that he is and incredible at dealing with people and b) my best friends weren’t waiting for me in my room to cheer me up. They came unexpectedly and I wasn’t sure I could pull it together for them, but I took a deep breath, wiped away my tears and went in and laughed like nobody’s business for a good half hour. Sometimes a surprise visit is the BEST visit. So thank you Cely and Jaime. 🙂

My reward for having my bloodwork done was $30 worth of hospital cafeteria vouchers. Looks like I came out the big winner, amiright? It was also reassuring to know that I don’t have zombie DNA.

So yeah. It was the roller coaster ride that had a lot of free falls, but also lots of fun parts in between like getting home-baked goodies from my sister’s bakery, ridiculously cute girlie stuff from friends and family, so many flowers it smelled like a garden in my room, plus lots of private, happy moments between my husband and me, and my baby and me. And seeing Ollie with his little sister for the first time was priceless.

I guess as I start closing this post, I just want to say no matter how minor, your drama as a parent is yours. It has value. It has meaning. You might not even know its weight till you’re seven months postpartum. It might hit you all at once. Talk about it and don’t feel guilty. For me, when people ask me if and when we’re having No. 3, I feel like unloading all the stuff we’ve been through physically, emotionally, hormonally and financially. I am not aching to add to my brood. And I’m not sorry for feeling that way. I’m VERY happy with my perfectly messy, chaotic, silly and crazy family. I can’t imagine it getting any better than this, right now. I don’t want to “push” it!

Now, tell me about your birth story! (Oh no, I just opened the flood gates, didn’t I?! Bring it!)

The Past Two Weeks Like Whoa!

 

I have so much I want to cover in my “catch-up” post, but in the interest of not burying the lead, our beautiful baby girl Delilah Jane was born on November 2 (Scorpio – fearless, intuitive, strong-willed. We’re in trouble!).

She’s so sweet with a little round head, rosebud lips, big blue eyes and I’d be a liar if I said even her little old man scowls aren’t endearing.

C-Section No. 2

I knew she was coming – a schedule c-section. But unlike being induced and going through labor like I did with Ollie, the whole experience having Delilah was quick and surreal. I was wheeled into OR and within 30 minutes, Miss Delilah emerged. “We have a head” … “We have a limb” … “IT’S A GIRL!” someone shouted. I say “someone” because there’s a horde of people in the OR from the anesthesiologist to nurses to my OBGYN and the assistant surgeon (what a racket!). I was shielded from them (and my surgery) by a big curtain.

The anesthesiologist kept me distracted from the pressure and tugging going on behind the curtain with small talk about the marathons he’s run and there was some ongoing joke in the OR about a chocolate 5K or something. On the other side of me, my husband J, bless him, let me squeeze the life out of his hand. Man, I was so tired and pilled up by the time we had Ollie, I don’t remember any of that realness. Am I a huge wuss or are c-sections sort of freaky? If you or your partner had one, how did it go?

Nocturnal, Hopefully Not Eternal

This is my first week home with just Delilah. We’re doing really well. She’s a night owl, which means I’m a night owl – I’m trying to figure out how to get her to sleep for longer lengths at night and to sleep in her bassinet on her back. Right now, she loves sleeping on the Boppy and in the swing, but the goal is to get her to sleep in her bed like a big girl (snap, I have her napping on her back right now!). J reminds me that she’s still adjusting. She’s only a week and a half old after all. Did you have this problem in the first few weeks or months?

I Must Have Some Secret Energy Reserve

I worked up till my due date feeling energetic and motivated and bounced back very quickly after surgery. I feel great even though my schedule is so messed up. I don’t even seem to need my morning coffee anymore – I suppose because my morning starts and stops a lot overnight. I don’t even know where the energy is coming from. Necessity, I suppose. One thing about the second child, you are still chasing after your first. The laundry needs to get done. People need to eat. Life goes on. There isn’t a lot of down time (for now, at least).

I’m pretty sure I won’t need three years to kick my baby weight to the curb like last time, either, because so much has dropped so fast already. Don’t worry, I’m totally eating (for two again … I’m nursing). No diets, man, just a lot of up and down stairs, feeding, running around and the occasional nap. I’m even already working from home, which I intend to do as long as possible. So far, so good. I gave myself two weeks off, but I didn’t last a week without checking work email. Truth is, I love being home with my new baby and being able to “do it all.” Anyone else experience these burst of energy and motivation (or weight loss?) as soon as you were settled in back at home with baby? What’s up with that? It’s kind of awesome.

Oh, the Tears

I have to admit something not so awesome, though: Holy hormones. My emotions were very positive during my pregnancy, but I’m pretty sure they’re to blame for my dull sense of smell and taste that started after a bad cold in October. Bummer. From what I’ve read on Dr. Google, my senses should return in these postpartum weeks. Please be true!

Also, whoa, I totally got the baby blues my first week home. Tears. Tears. Tears. Tears of joy for Delilah. Tears of pride for Ollie (talk about an amazing big brother). Tears of fear for myself and my ability to “do it all.” Tears of pain from nursing (it’s not like riding a bike, it turns out). And tears from being largely overwhelmed by this huge new responsibility and life in general. I think lots of moms are embarrassed to admit they have the baby blues because they’re afraid they’ll be judged. I’m over the tears phase, but I thought it was important to mention it for all the moms out there who experienced it or might experience it in the future. It’s totally normal. Anything beyond a few sobbing episodes the week or two after the baby’s born, though, I’d talk to someone about how you feel. Postpartum depression is the extreme, longer-term version of the baby blues and can be treated. Did you have the baby blues? I don’t remember them with Ollie. I thinks sometimes we block out certain moments during life-changers, don’t you?

Nickel and Dimed

Hmm. What else? I’m budgeting. Another positive side effect of baby-having, I guess (they are expensive little buggers). Once I outlined all of our incoming and outgoing expenses, I took a hard look at myself – reviewing some of the things I spend money on that are not necessities and don’t really add to the quality of my life or my family’s life. I think about random online purchases I make. Dining out too much. Impulse buys. Going into Target without a list (lol). Going to the grocery store multiple times a week for miscellaneous stuff vs. regularly with a solid list to get us through a few weeks. We all need indulgences and should be allowed a few fun things here and there, but for now, I’m forcing myself to think before I buy. One good thing about this postpartum time is that I have a whole wardrobe at my disposal! Although, I’m totally due for winter boots. Necessity in the Midwest, so it’s a justified purchase, right? How do you budget? Tips, advice, etc. are super appreciated!

Pink!

We’ve received so much pink clothing and accessories for Delilah. The outfits are hella adorable and our little girl is lucky to have so many people around spoiling her with cute duds.

But she won’t be wearing them just because I’m afraid people will mistake her for a boy out in public. And I won’t be offended when it happens. Because it probably will. She’s a baby. She looks like a baby. Ollie was asked if he was s girl or boy just the other week when he was trick or treating. And not by some jerk kid, it was an old, well-meaning guy. Ollie answered “boy” and moved on. I don’t get hung up on gender roles and I certainly don’t want my children to become obsessed with gender identity. I am a total girlie girl at heart and adore ruffly dresses, tights, mary janes, pigtails, etc., but there is nothing more precious than a confident girl who walk tall in a pair of sneakers all busted from playing in the dirt. What are your thoughts on gender identity and children? Should I just accept the fact that she’s going to want to be a pink princess at some point? How do you raise a balanced, confident girl from the get-go? So many of us adult women are STILL working on it! I know I am.

Last but not least, peep this awesome custom, crafty greeting card my friend Nikki sent us! Check out her blog for more crafty goodness!

 

 

This Matters.

Make no mistake, when we think of “mom and baby,” chunky, pink, giggly babies with model-beautiful, doting moms is what comes up on our Google brain search, too. Time to wake up.

It’s getting more and more impossible to not post stuff on Facebook about me. Who I really am. What I really think. Because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I know how bad it hurts when someone you love expresses beliefs that are a million miles away from yours. And it’s always the issues that matter most to you. I feel more comfortable sharing here. It’s funny how a blog that is available worldwide feels safer than a Facebook page of 95 friends and family.

What matters most to me? Women’s and children’s rights. There are so many things worth fighting for in this world, but I can’t sit by the sidelines and let people – largely wealthy white men in positions of power – decide how it’s gonna be when it comes to all I truly own: my body and my child. I just can’t. And if anyone else who had the luxury of passing laws about my body and my child’s welfare did so lightly – regardless of sex, color or class – I would take issue with that person, as well.

The importance of protecting, loving, educating and reaffirming children – particularly little girls because they are so low priority – drives me. I’m obsessed with building strong, happy, healthy and confident kids – girls and boys. I mourn for the kids who are overlooked. Ignored. Uncared for. And there are many. And it’s not fair.

Taking care of people who can’t take care of themselves – children, our poor, our disabled – is really a sign of a compassionate, educated, civilized society. And boy, are we sucking. I am not proud of us in 2012.

I came across this response post that sums it up for me regarding children’s and women’s rights and human welfare at a time when they’re all in jeopardy. Don’t think for a second that women and children’s issues are not also economic issues, which is all most Americans seem worried about right now. I’m hoping it touches you the way it totally took my breath away today. It’s painful. The truth hurts. But it matters so much. *removes rose-tinted glasses*

To: http://speakfortheweak.tumblr.com
From: http://stfuconservatives.tumblr.com

“Let me tell you some things.

I used to investigate child abuse and neglect. I can tell you how to stop the vast majority of abortion in the world.

First, make knowledge and access to contraception widely available. Start teaching kids before they hit puberty. Teach them about domestic violence and coercion, and teach them not to coerce and rape. Create a strong, loving community where women and girls feel safe and supported in times of need. Because guess what? They aren’t. You know what happens to babies born under such circumstances? They get hurt, unnecessarily. They get sick, unnecessarily. They get removed from parents who love them but who are unprepared for the burden of a child. Resources? Honey, we try. There aren’t enough resources anywhere. There are waiting lists, and promises, and maybes. If the government itself can’t hook people up, what makes you think an impoverished single mom can handle it?

Abolish poverty. Do you have any idea how much childcare costs? Daycare can cost as much or more than monthly rent. They may be inadequately staffed. Getting a private nanny is a nice idea, but they don’t come cheap either. Relatives? Do they own a car? Does the bus run at the right times? Do they have jobs of their own they need to work just to keep the lights on? Are they going to stick around until you get off you convenience store shift at 4 AM? Do they have criminal histories that will make them unsuitable as caregivers when CPS pokes around? You gonna pay for that? Who’s going to pay for that?

End rape. I know your type errs on the side of blaming the woman, but I’ve seen little girls who’ve barely gotten their periods pregnant because somebody thought raping preteens was an awesome idea. You want to put a child through that? Or someone with a mental or physical inability for whom pregnancy would be frightening, painful or even life-threatening? I’ve seen nonverbal kids who had their feet sliced up by caregivers for no fucking reason at all, you think sexual abuse doesn’t happen either?

You say there’s lots of couples who want to adopt. Kiddo, what they want to adopt are healthy white babies, preferably untainted by the wombs and genetics of women with alcohol or drug dependencies. I’ve seen the kids they don’t want, who almost no one wants. You people focus only on the happy pink babies, the gigglers, the ones who grow and grow with no trouble. Those are not the kids who linger in foster care. Those are certainly not the older kids and teenagers who age out of foster care and then are thrown out in the streets, usually with an array of medical and mental health issues. Are they too old to count?

And yeah, I’ve seen the babies, little hand-sized things barely clinging to life. There’s no glory, no wonder there. There is no wonder in a pregnant woman with five dollars to her name, so deep in depression you wonder if she’ll be alive in a week. Therapy costs money. Medicine costs money. Food, clothes, electricity cost money. Government assistance is a pittance; poverty drives women and girls into situations where they are forced to rely on people who abuse them to survive. (I’ve been up in more hospitals than I can count.)

In each and every dark pit of desperation, I have never seen a pro-lifer. I ain’t never seen them babysitting, scrubbing floors, bringing over goods, handing mom $50 bucks a month or driving her to the pediatrician. I ain’t never seen them sitting up for hours with an autistic child who screams and rages so his mother can get some sleep while she rests up from working 14-hour days. I don’t see them fixing leaks in rundown houses or playing with a kid while the police prepare to interview her about her sexual abuse. They’re not paying for the funerals of babies and children who died after birth, when they truly do become independent organisms. And the crazy thing is they think they’ve already done their job, because the child was born!

Aphids give birth, girl. It’s no miracle. You want to speak for the weak? Get off your high horse and get your hands dirty helping the poor, the isolated, the ill and mentally ill women and mothers and their children who already breathe the dirty air. You are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, for children. You don’t have a flea’s comprehension of injustice. You are not doing shit for life until you get in there and fight that darkness. Until you understand that abortion is salvation in a world like ours. Does that sound too hard? Do you really think suffering post-birth is more permissible, less worthy of outrage?

‘Pro-life’ is simply a philosophy in which the only life worth saving is the one that can be saved by punishing a woman.”

On Making the World Worthy of its Children

Pablo Picasso. Girl with a Boat (Maya Picasso). 1938. Oil on canvas. Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne, Switzerland.

This:

“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.” –Pablo Picasso

Sometimes You Have to Make a Scene

FTFY

My BFF just posted this on FB and I say “damn straight” –

“I had words with a stranger in the Walgreen’s parking lot.
 I pulled up right next to her and saw her put a child no older than 3 in the front seat. She got in the driver’s side and started the car. The car window was open and the child was not wearing a seat belt.

‘Where’s her car seat?’ I asked.

‘Mind your own business,’ she said.

‘It’s my business if she ends up smashing into the windshield.’

I probably looked like a total jerk. I had my hands on my hips and was wearing a yellow hoodie, a black Goonies t-shit and my school ID on a Hello Kitty lanyard covered with ‘flair.’ I really was waiting to get punched in the face.

The adult huffed, got out of the car, grabbed the child and put her in the back seat.

The child didn’t say much or have much of a reaction. I waved at her and they left. I only wish I would’ve asked for the adult to secure the child with a seat belt. But I knew I had already asked too much.”

If you ever see a small child riding in a car without a car seat or booster, you have every right to say something. The car seat laws vary from state to state. In Illinois, kids have to have a car seat/booster until they are 8 years old. For parents who can’t afford a car seat, there is a great organization called Safe Kids USA that can help.


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