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I can’t believe another month has passed! Some weeks felt incredibly slow, like when I found myself at the peak of newborn fussiness, and other days zoomed by… where all he did was nap all afternoon, while this mama caught up on her blogging! Here’s a brief breakdown of what these past two months were like for me:
Weeks 1-3: PURE JOY. My baby slept around the clock, and barely fussed except when he was hungry. I was still running off adrenaline from new mommyhood and found everything my boy did endearing and sweet. I forgot how wonderful it felt to hold a teensy tiny newborn again. I was in love.
Weeks 3-7: PURE HELL. This period left me wondering, “What the heck was I thinking?? How could I forget how torturous this newborn stage was?!” – I was so tired – nursing every other hour for 24-hours day after day was leaving me ragged.
Weeks 7+: REALITY. Things have been calmer from here on out. There are good moments, and there are bad ones. Jaren’s getting more consistent with his wake, sleep, and eat times. I’m getting longer stretches of sleep, and he’s going longer between feedings. Things feel pretty good as we start seeing the semblance of a rhythm and I get my confidence back as a mom.
Height: 23.5 inches (77th percentile)
Weight: 15.1 lbs. (96th percentile)
Head Circumference: 16 inches (91st percentile)
Clothes: wearing 6-month onesies and sleepers
Diapers: almost out of size 2′s, and can fit size 3′s
- At 5 weeks – he started cooing and smiling a lot.
- 5 weeks 4 days – we transitioned him from our room to his room, but he continued to sleep in the co-sleeper.
- 6 weeks 5 days – we transitioned him to his crib both for naps and at night.
- At 7 weeks – the first time he had only one night waking (he slept from 11:30-3:30 am, then from 4:30-7 am), but this still isn’t consistent.
A lot has happened this past month, and he is a BIG baby! Although we don’t have a predictable schedule in place yet, we do have a routine. We follow an eat/play/wake routine. If he falls asleep nursing, a diaper change is just the trick needed to wake him up. He usually stays up for an hour before his first signs of tiredness start to show (zoning out, yawning), where I’ll promptly prepare him for a nap by changing his diaper, putting him in his swaddle, shutting the curtains, and turning on the white noise machine.
We’ve tried in vain to get him to take a pacifier. I guess both my babies were not meant to be pacifier babies! However, we noticed he started sucking his fist at 5-weeks old and he often does this when he’s starting to get hungry or sleepy. We also started putting him down sleepy but awake around 7-weeks, and happily discovered that most of the time he can fall asleep on his own with minimal fussing.
He got the standard 2-month vaccinations this month (3 shots and 1 oral vaccine for the rotavirus). He seemed fine right afterwards, and even took a short 45-minute nap, but as soon as he woke up he was fussier than normal. I tried shushing, rocking, and patting him but he just seemed so uncomfortable. I finally gave him a small dose of infant Tylenol, and put him down for another nap. He pretty much slept all day from 2-6 pm, and finally woke up to eat. Even though he slept all afternoon, it didn’t affect his night sleep at all. In fact, he only woke up once in the middle of the night. He slept from 8-11pm, then again from midnight-4 am, and finally woke up for the day at 9 am.
I love our son so much. As tired as I am, I look at him through the eyes of a mother and often stare in wonder at the peaceful, happy baby he is. I can’t stop munching on his enormous cheeks, and find myself squeezing his chubby arms, thighs, wrists, and belly every chance I get. It’s incredible how fast he is growing, and I’m excited to see how his personality takes shape in the coming months!
Unfortunately, not all months are fun and games… and month 28 with my firstborn was a particularly brutal one. Her worst week this past month happened to coincide with Jaren’s worst week of sleep (between weeks 6 and 7). Lucky us!! That was the week when I thought, “what the heck did we get ourselves into?!” – it was the week where I really wanted to escape my life, only to discover that there’s no way out.
Things have improved since then, but we definitely have a very opinionated, independent girl on our hands. She wants to do EVERYTHING herself, from opening her own vitamin bottles to dressing herself to cleaning her own snot (yes, she tried to use the NoseFrida on herself). This past month, a few new things occurred:
- She reads books to herself. She kind of memorized Brown Bear Brown Bear, so she’s been reading to ME lately while flipping through the pages.
- She learned how to put on her shoes correctly. She knows that the left shoe goes on the left foot, and vice versa (most of the time).
- She can say her name correctly now! Before, she was calling herself Yoelle. I have no idea why she wasn’t able to say the first syllable of her name because it’s pronounced the same as her favorite word, “No!”
- She can count up to 30 now. I teach her her numbers by randomly counting out loud while we stroll to the park (I’ll count houses, flowers, clouds, etc). She has a great memory, so she can easily repeat it back to me after just hearing me recite them a couple times.
- She knows how to “pump a swing” on her own, meaning she doesn’t need us to push her anymore. Growing up too fast.
- She insists on sitting on a regular chair like the adults do. No more high chair for this little lady!
I’m really tempted to get a learning tower for our kitchen. I’ve been wanting one for so long, but always manage to talk myself out of it. We have a pretty spacious kitchen, and she always wants me to lift her up so she can see what I’m up to. I think this would really allow her to thrive as her need for independence continues to increase.
This month, I constantly found myself on the offensive with her, trying to nip tantrums in the bud before they even start. We’re guaranteed either a tantrum or a huge whiiiiiiine almost every time we say no, or if we pull her away from an activity too quickly. I often arm myself with premeditated words and have to think 5 steps ahead before I approach her. It’s draining, and by the end of the day when both kids are down, I have nothing left in me.
I reread one of Mrs. Bee’s old updates on Charlie, and she gave me words I so needed to hear:
I didn’t get around to doing a 28 month update for Charlie last month because it was a brutal month. Charlie was throwing a lot of tantrums; I feared that the terrible twos had finally set in, and my sweet little boy was gone forever. A friend of mine with 2 kids older than Charlie and Olive told me that during the 2′s and 3′s, there is a continuous cycle of two good weeks and two bad weeks. Then from the age of 4, it gets better with 3 good weeks then 1 bad week. I thought it was an interesting way to look at the toddler/preschool age!
But after the epic month of tantrums, Charlie went back to being his sweet self.
It’s good to know that everything we’re going through is NORMAL. This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass…
That’s pretty much it for us this month!
In anticipation of Baby #2, I’ve changed the blog address and name to jarenandnoelle.wordpress.com – we don’t want him to think mama was playing favorites! It was actually really easy to do and I was able to keep all my content the same! If you subscribe via reader, please update the link.
It’s so cliché, but I love making them! I usually never remember what my resolutions were by the end of the year, or even a few months into the year, but I think they’re fun to make and it helps me start the year off with a brand spankin’ new, clean slate. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently reading The Power of Habit (I really like it so far), and one thing the book talks about are certain habits called “keystone habits”.
Keystone habits are routines that spill over to other habits. They used “making your bed in the morning” as one example. According to The Power of Habit, making your bed is correlated to higher productivity and stronger skills at sticking to a budget. A keystone habit is essentially a catalyst for other good habits, and sets off a chain reaction to putting other good habits in place. I’m obsessed with a well-made bed, and it’s one of the first things I do in the morning (I also don’t like crawling into an unmade bed, so I will make it again before napping or bedtime if it’s in disarray), so it made me happy to read that it’s a keystone habit.
Anyway, what does all this mumbo jumbo have to do with making new year resolutions? Well, I think making new resolutions can be similar to keystone habits in the sense that it shifts your mindset (at least, it does for me), and leads to other things falling into place, whether intentionally or unintentionally. These are mine for the new year, what are some of yours?
- Improve my excel skills – specifically, work on my pivot tables. I know this sounds like such a lame resolution, but I loooove excel and wish I was a whiz at it. My coworker is a complete Excel genius, and I’m totally amazed by the possibilities.
- Read at least 4 books from the books in the Book List Challenge I previously blogged about. Four isn’t an arbitrary number – it’s one book per quarter, which sounds realistic to a soon-to-be-mom of two.
- Journal at least once a week. Since becoming a mom, my journaling has gone way way wayyyyy down. I’m still using the journal I started in 2008. :( I really should spend more time in this department because I think it’s another habit that acts as a catalyst to other things, specifically in my spiritual walk.
- Stick with the Insanity workout for at least one-month. I’m not looking forward to my postpartum body, but hopefully I’ll be able to find some time for exercise in-between two kids sometime this year! An at-home workout DVD seems like a realistic way to fit in some exercise in-between work and kids, and I want to do something different and intense.
- Work on meal-planning over the weekends. I want to get streamlined in this department so there aren’t days where we’re wondering what we should eat that day. I want to cut back on trips to the supermarket too. I think having set meal plans and sticking to one shopping trip per week could really improve our budget. Maybe this is another keystone habit!
Last year, I wanted to keep track of all the books I read… so here’s my list! I was a few short of my goal of 25 books this year, and I doubt 2013 will be any better since the new baby is arriving in February. My favorite genre by far is fiction (so if you have any recs, I welcome them!). I read a bunch of non-fiction in 2012, but it took me forever to get through them. I’m also really sick of parenting books, but I keep reading them!
Anyway, I’m currently halfway through The Power of Habit, but did not log it for 2012 since it’s already 2013 and I’m not done with it yet. I love to read and wish I had more time for it. Over the holidays, it was so nice to curl up near the Christmas tree, hot tea in hand, in a dim room… just me, my Kindle & my Kandle.
1. Loving the Little Years by: Rachel Jankovic
2. The Total Money Makeover by: Dave Ramsey
3. The Meaning of Marriage by: Tim Keller
4. Unbroken by: Laura Hillebrand
5. 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by: Thomas Phelan
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
7. SOS Help for Parents by: Lynn Clark
8. The Unhealthy Truth by: Robyn O’Brien
9. The Hole in our Gospel by: Richard Stearns
10. If You Want to Write by: Brenda Ueland
11. No Regrets Parenting by: Harley Rotbart
12. Operating Instructions by: Anne Lamott
13. The Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice & Fire: Book 1) by: George R.R. Martin
14. The Happiest Toddler on the Block by: Harvey Karp
n/a (trudging through Les Mis and Game of Thrones Book 2, which I never finished)
n/a (trudging through Les Mis and Game of Thrones Book 2, which I never finished)
15. Les Miserables by: Victor Hugo
16. Brain Rules for Baby by: John Medina
17. Reread Ender’s Game by: Orson Scott Card
18. Ender’s Shadow by: Orson Scott Card
19. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers by: Tracy Hogg
20. Praying Circles Around your Children by: Mark Batterson
21. Nourishing Traditions by: Sally Fallon
22. Divergent by: Veronica Roth
23. Insurgent by: Veronica Roth
I never thought I’d have a child with a serious food allergy, least of all a peanut allergy, given neither S nor I have a family history of food allergies.
We discovered N’s peanut allergy in the worst way possible. She had just turned 14-months, so I thought she was old enough to have her very first taste of a peanut butter jelly sandwich. The reaction was immediate. Hives first appeared on her face, then slowly spread down her neck and all over her body. Within 10-minutes, she had vomited her breakfast. I rushed her to Urgent Care, where they were able to give her an oral steroid and an epinephrine shot, then I took her home for a long nap. After that incident, we never dared give her peanuts of any kind. Our pediatrician said she was still too young to do an allergy test and recommended we wait until she was 2-3 years old… so wait we did.
We never thought we’d have to experience it again so soon. Last Friday, I got a call from her preschool. Her teacher had given peanut butter and pretzels as a morning snack, and N was breaking out in hives. I was in hysterics. After our very first incident, they warned us that a second trigger could be much worse. I sounded like a broken record as I rushed over there: “How MUCH did she have?! How MUCH?”. I was so upset. I had reminded the director and the teacher on the first day of school that she had a peanut allergy. It was also in her records. With only three other children in the classroom, there shouldn’t have been any reason for this kind of negligence. It could’ve meant the difference between life or death.
When I got to the school, I immediately gave N some Benadryl to calm the hives. She was also wheezing and coughing, indicating some closure in the throat and lungs. Shortly after, she vomited. It was like déjà vu. I took her to Urgent Care, where the doctor on-call wanted nothing to do with her. Instead, he directed us to the ER at a nearby children’s hospital. I was frustrated and really did not want to waste any more time, but it was obvious he did not want the possible liability. His words before we left were, “She could flip a switch at any second and drop dead. If that happens, I wouldn’t have the tools here to resuscitate her”.
Gee doc, thanks for making an already frantic mom even more panicked. Once we got to the ER, they admitted her right away. They took some vitals, and by the time the doctor was ready to see her, she was already getting better. Her wheezing had lessened significantly, and the hives didn’t look as bad. The vomiting and Benadryl must’ve helped. We spent 4-hours in the Emergency Room that day; they wanted to monitor her and make sure the steroids and epi-pen worked because apparently, the allergens can re-trigger anywhere up to 3-days post-consumption. We were sent home with a prescription for an epi-pen and steroids, and instructions to see an allergist.
First, we had a serious discussion with the school’s director to make sure there are more safeguards in place for kids with allergies; not only for N’s sake, but for the sake of other kids with allergies. They owned up to their mistake, and the scare obviously caused them to be hyper-aware. Its been decided that peanut butter would be banned from the classroom N is in, and they plan to completely eliminate peanut-containing products from their snack time menu. Although there is still some mistrust and worry on our part, we know this will never happen again.
Then, I signed N up for MedicAlert’s emergency alert network. It is a non-profit designed to come to the immediate aid of any member in need of emergency medical attention. N’s medical records (as much or as little as I choose to disclose) would be housed in a database; made available to medical personnel in the event of an emergency. There is an annual membership fee, and members are given a distinctive engraved bracelet widely recognized by medical professionals everywhere.
N will be wearing this from now on. There’s an engraving on the back with our names and numbers in the case of an emergency.
Finally, I am looking into a pediatric allergist to get N’s allergy test done sooner rather than later. She has eaten all the other Top 8 Allergen Foods with no issue (including other types of tree nuts), but knowing her sensitivities will give us a greater peace of mind after dealing with emergency peanut scares two times in less than two years.
No parent wants this for their child. I hope this never happens again, but there is a likelihood that it could. We need to take as many precautions as possible. As she grows I’ll have to teach her about the dangers of peanuts and the havoc it’ll wreak on her system. She’ll need to learn how to read food labels, and be extra aware of products that contain “traces of peanuts.” We will need to teach her how to use an epi-shot and she will have to carry it with her everywhere. There is a 20% chance she could grow out of this allergy, but we aren’t taking any chances.
Today, I am thankful she is well, and that we were able to make the school a safer place for all children. I am grateful that her allergy isn’t worse than it is (as in – she doesn’t go into anaphlylactic shock, and she is fine when someone is eating something with peanuts next to her, just as long as it doesn’t physically enter her system).
In a season of thanks, I am most thankful for her life – that she is here. Thank god she is here.
I’ve been seeing this ABC Quiz go around the blogosphere for awhile now, so I guess I’ll follow the crowd:
A. Age: oh shoot… I’m either 27 or 28… I forgot.
B. Bed size: Cal King
C. Chore you hate: Folding clothes and putting them away. Give me dishes or the vacuum any day!
D. Dogs: Two adorable maltipoos. I like one more than the other. I miss my husky though… sad face.
E. Essential start to your day: Stumbling out of bed to feed my baby… morning breath, bird’s nest hair and all.
F. Favorite color: Lavender or any shade of purple. Red is a nice color too.
G. Gold or silver: Silver if it’s to wear… gold if it’s to invest.
H. Height: 5 feet 5 inches – completely average.
I. Instruments: Piano for 6-7 years, flute for 3 years.
J. Job title: Stay-at-home mom
K. Kids: Noelle Olivia, 15 weeks
L. Live: Orange County, CA
M. Mom’s name: Diana
N. Nicknames: Ange
O. Overnight hospital stays: Jan 2011, when I gave birth to my daughter.
P. Pet peeve: Slowpokes, people who are habitually late, inconsiderate & selfish people.
Q. Quote from a movie: “I never saved anything for the swim back.” – Gattaca
R. Right or left handed: I was born left-handed but I distinctly remember my grandma forcing me to write with my right-hand (can you say trauma?)… so some things I can do a lot better with my left side – like snowboarding (goofy), shooting pool, and snapping my fingers (I can’t even snap with my right)
S. Siblings: one younger sister. I love her, even though she copies everything I do (jk… kinda)
T. Time you wake up: Sometime between 6:30-7:30am - whenever my baby wakes up.
U. Underwear: NOT VS – I’m asian, there’s not much junk in my trunk.
V. Vegetables you dislike: I like almost all vegetables except bell peppers and olives (is this a vegetable?)
W. What makes you run late: Getting the baby ready so we can leave the house. Gotta set aside at least an extra half hour now for this process!
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth and left foot.
Y. Yummy food you make: Galbijjim – this sweet/salty braised korean short rib dish. YUM!
Z. Zoo- favorite animal: Panda bears!! They look so innocent and helpless with their one black eye.
I stalk quite a few baby/mommy blogs – most I’ve never commented on… I probably should so I don’t come off as such a weirdo. Heh.
Here are some blogs I religiously read through the oh-so-wonderful-Google-Reader. I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon most of these – I guess my web surfing skills are better than I ever could have hoped.
- Geek in Heels – I actually started following her blog before she had her baby. However, I fell even more in love with her blog after she started blogging about her pregnancy and postpartum experience. She had her daughter only a few months before me so it was nice to read what she was going through before I went through it. I was touched by her raw honesty about her difficult transition into motherhood. I haven’t found anyone else on the blogosophere that writes about motherhood as eloquently and candidly as her.
- AlphaMom – this blog is chock full of mommy advice! There’s a wealth of info here – I remember the night I stumbled upon this site I spent hours on it just reading through the different articles.
- John’s Xanga – how rare it is to read about parenthood from a male perspective. John is the creator of xanga and I love his take on fatherhood. His lil’ boy Charlie Cole is super adorable too.
- JustBee – she is the creator of weddingbee and married to John (the creator of xanga – above). She blogs mostly about her daily experiences with her son Charlie with tons of pictures and videos, but some of her posts are really informative… like her favorite baby toys, her ultimate baby registry, what she did to sleep train, etc.
- Creature Gorgeous – I started following her when I was pregnant since she was only a few weeks ahead of me. I loved her weekly pregnancy updates at that time. She doesn’t blog as frequently now that she has her hands full with her baby boy and a new house in the works, but I always look forward to her updates. She’s seriously gorgeous too!
Of course, I am also a loyal follower of all my personal mommy (or soon-to-be-mommy) friends:
- Mifocals – my friend Amy is due in June 2011! She writes candidly about her experience with miscarriage and the hopes/fears she has for the little one growing in her.
- Vitamin A – my other friend Amy is also due in June 2011! I think these two Amy’s should be friends. She is super creative, as you’ll see right away when you look at her blog. Her blog is made up of very little verbiage, but you’ll soon see that sometimes pictures speak more than words.
- Blessedwithsons – she is seriously Blessed with Sons (4 in fact!) – when people say, “those kids say the darnest things” I always think of her boys! They are a mix of funny and sweet and everything in-between. In the midst of these cutesy posts is wisdom sprinkled throughout. So much wisdom that I have trouble wrapping my mind around it sometimes.
- Adventures in the Life of Katie – she writes about the unexpected difficulties of her pregnancy – nausea, throwing up, medication – I’m sure many can relate. She’s also going to try for a natural birth and is taking Bradley classes with the same instructor we had.
It’s always nice to read these blogs so I don’t feel so alone in this life stage – sleep training, potty training, teething, sleepless nights… these parents have been there and it’s reassuring to know that the phrase “this too shall pass” applies to almost everything. I enjoy reading up on parenthood through the lens of firsthand personal experience.
Anyway, my hope is to get you to stalk some of these fab blogs that I stalk (so that I’m not the only weirdo)… heh. I love it when people love what I love. What other baby blogs should I be stalking?
This is not an addiction.
When I was pregnant, I shelved my favorite genre (fiction), in order to read up on pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. There is a wealth of information on the web, but sometimes the internet is just not enough. If you’re a reader like me, these are my two favorite book sites – PaperBackSwap and GoodReads.
Here’s a brief overview of some of the books I read, some I enjoyed more than others:
1. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by: The Mayo Clinic
(5/5 stars) - Focus of book: What to expect during and after pregnancy.
This book gives you a week by week breakdown of your pregnancy and tells you how your baby is developing. It also has several chapters dedicated to the different stages of labor as well as a reference guide to numerous pregnancy health conerns. Super informative without being judgmental or biased towards any one view. Props to the Mayo Clinic for putting out a great book!
2. What to Expect When You’re Expecting: 4th Edition by: Murkoff, Eisenberg & Hathaway
(4/5 stars) - Focus of book: What to expect during and after pregnancy.
This book is similar to the Mayo Clinic book except it’s written in more of a conversational, fun way. It also breaks down your pregnancy in a month-by-month format and gives recommendations on eating, exercising, and staying healthy throughout the pregnancy process. This is a very popular series, but there are mixed reviews on it because many women find that this book is condescending with a bent on the alarmist side. It didn’t come off that way to me though.
3. Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality by: Laura Jana & Jennifer Shu
(4/5 stars) - Focus of book: General newborn care.
Good all-around info about what to expect once you come home with your baby and how to handle everything from diaper changes to illness.
4. The Happiest Baby on the Block by: Harvey Karp
(3/5 stars) – Focus of book: Crying/fussy babies
I liked the ideas in here, but I felt that the main points could have been summed up in one chapter rather than stretched out into an entire book. The book gives new parents insight on how to deal with a crying/colicky baby based on the 5 “S’s”, which are swaddling, side/stomach, shushing (white noise), swinging, and sucking. It’s also written in very simplistic terms, which made it easy to read.
The rest of these books are all about how to get your child to sleep.
5. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by: Marc Weissbluth
(5/5 stars) – Focus of book: Sleep
If you want the research and data and case studies behind the importance of sleep and its affect on childrens’ temperaments, then this is the book for you. Basically, he stresses the importance of putting your child to sleep before you actually notice symptoms of tiredness, and the need to “protect” your child’s naptimes. One of the best books on sleep out there imo.
6. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by: Tracey Hogg
(5/5 stars) - Focus of book: Sleep
This was the first book on sleep that really captured me. I loved Hogg’s gentle tone and her methods were so helpful. She recommends putting baby on a flexible schedule called “EASY” (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You). There’s even an entire chart in here that breaks down what your baby might need depending on the type of cry. It was very helpful in those early early days when I was a lost, confused new parent!
7. The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by: Tracey Hogg
(5/5 stars) - Focus of book: Sleep
This is a more expanded, detailed version of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer… and goes into great detail about things that left me confused in the original book. It even separates out the how to tweak your baby’s schedule according to age (0-3 months, 4-6 months, toddlerhood, etc.).
8. On Becoming Baby Wise by: Gary Ezzo
(3/5 stars) - Focus of book: Sleep
Similar to The Baby Whisperer, this book recommends that you put your baby on an eat/activity/sleep schedule. While I liked the ideas in this book a lot, I found it too strict and controlling… and personally, I didn’t like their recommendation of putting your newborn on such a strict parent-directed feeding schedule from Day 1. Different strokes for different folks I guess. I did take concepts from this book and mixed it with concepts from The Baby Whisperer though… and Noelle has been a pretty good sleeper ever since Week 6.
9. The No-Cry Sleep Solution by: Pantley and Sears
(2/5 stars) - Focus of book: Sleep
My least favorite sleep training book. It’s marketed as a gentler approach to the cry-it-out method, but I found the information a convoluted mess. Everything in here sounded like common sense to me, like singing lullabies to your baby or giving him/her a “lovey” to fall asleep with.