Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cara Figlia - Babbling Away

Cara figlia,

Lately, you have a lot to say. You will at me very intently and then talk very seriously. Unfortunately, you aren't saying any real words. But your babbling sure is adorable. Except when it's in the middle of trying to nurse you to sleep or in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping .

You are also saying a lot of real words. You are having a word explosion, and it's incredible to hear. Animal noises and names, mama and dada, shoes and socks, diapers and bath, balls and bubbles, apple and balala (banana). You are saying all that and more. Your pronunciations are not perfect, but pretty darn good... once Daddy and I figured out that your say Bs instead of Ms and Ls instead of Ns.

You are also signing a bunch of new words. Eat and nurse are two signs I had been waiting for and you are finally doing. I can see now that I will have to be looking up a lot more words and buying or borrowing more of the Baby Signing Times DVDs.

This ability to communicate seems to be helping your frustration and fussiness. It's not helping your sleep, which has gone out the window. But at least when you toddle over to the kitchen table and say coocah, I know you are hungry and would like a cracker to snack on. Also extremely helpful has been up and down. I'm actually starting to look forward to toddlerese, a language that has always made me nervous before!

Ti amo tutti,

Friday, April 18, 2008

What We Put In Our Bodies

First two things I wanted to mention, and then on to my post. Thanks for all your comments about my childcare delimma. It helps to hear other opinions, and that website that La Folle Maman gave has been fantastic! I'll keep you all updated as we go along, including my reaction to the Montessori school I visited (I LOVED IT!!!). Speaking of updates, I updated the Quote I Love at the bottom of the blog with one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain. It's a good one--check it out. Now, on to today's thoughts...

I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a hippie mom. Well, this seems to be especially true in my choices for foods and other things that my baby girl might ingest. I used to roll my eyes at people who bought organic foods or said how eating this or that could cause cancer. It seems that everything causes cancer, so that scare tactic wouldn't work on me!

Now, I'm thinking that everything DOES seem to cause (or at least contribute to) cancer. Or ADD/ADHD or autism or fertility issues or early puberty (even though as a species we are having children later, so evolutionarily we should be having puberty later) or allergies or diabeties or... Well, you get the picture. In the past, oh, 23 months or so*, I've really started paying attention to what I'm ingesting and what my child is ingesting. (I'm also paying attention to what Londo is ingesting, but I try to only encourage not control what he eats since I like being married to him.) And I'm concerned about the amount of incidental crap that is in the foods we buy and eat.

This is why cutting back on high fructose corn syrup and buying more organic foods were two of the three things I picked as part of Ask Moxie's 60 Challenge. I'm also trying to cut down on things with perservatives, food coloring, food additives (what does that even mean?), and processed foods. This doesn't mean that I don't occassionally go out and get the McDonald's cheeseburger and fries, but in general I'm trying to buy, cook and eat better. More natural.

This means that my grocery shopping trips take 2-3 times as long because I am reading the ingredients in EVERYTHING, which in turn means that I don't bring the Pumpkin with me to the grocery much. It also means I'm shopping more and more at Wholefoods and I plan to start going to the local farmers' market and Trader Joe's. It means that I'm trying to bake my own bread** and cook healthly meals more often in order to control the ingredients that goes into what we are eating.

I'm not generally an alarmist, but I see the way the world is moving and I want to get off that ride. For the convience of time, our diets have changed in ways that I'm not sure our bodies are designed to handle. I'm not saying that all the world's ills are because we are eating ready-made dinners. But if I can make time to cook things myself and pay attention to what is in the things I buy, that can't hurt. I don't always have the time, because Londo and I both work out of the home and have a lot going on. But I'm trying to make the time and do things in advance and change the way we think and the way we live, not just for our sakes but for the Pumpkin's sake especially.

There is another example of me being a hippie mom. I'm not a perfect hippie, but I aspire! I'm also buying some interesting books on these topics, and I'm sure I'll share my reviews of them after I read them. I think I'd feel a little more awkward about this concern, except I've found more and more of my friends worrying about the same things, especially those who've recently had children. And based on the comments I got about the baby-led weaning/feeding, maybe being a hippie mom is really just being a mom. Someone tell that to Londo, who still calls me his little hippie wife. ;-)

*That would be calculated as 9.5 months pregnancy plus 13 months of life for my child.
**Did you know that most whole wheat bread has high fructose corn syrup in it? And that a lot of mixes for breads and pancakes have aluminum in them?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Time for a New Plan

First, I wanted to thank everyone for being so sympathetic about my loss of smell. I'm happy to say that it's returning, but unhappy to report that I think my house is pretty stinky. I never thought the loss of that particular sense would be that bad, but it really, truly is. I'm amazing at how much I was affected. And I won't be using the Zicam nasal swabs anymore. I'm not even sure I'll be using the swallowable tablets.

As I'm sure I've said before, my mom has been watching my daughter and my sister's daughter during the days, with a babysitter/nanny who comes over in the afternoons to watch them while my mom gives violin lessons (which has been her job since I was little). This has been a really great set up for many reasons, including the fact that my mom gets to watch her own grandchildren, the babysitter is a dream, everything is very flexible and catered to my daughter and my niece (as much as possible), my daughter gets to play all day with her cousin who is a year older, and it has been pretty easy on us financially. Londo and I (as well as my sister and her husband) absolutely realize how very fortunate we've been with this situation.

But things are about to change. My mom has asked my sister and I to find a different situation. As much as she has been loving watching the girls, she started doing this over 2 years ago with my niece, and she needs a break. She does not want to give up her teaching, which she loves, is great at, and makes her pretty good money. And she also has her 93-year-old mother now living with her, and she needs care and attention too. Mostly, though, my mom needs some time to do life things that she simply can't find time for anymore, like make doctors' appointments and organize her house and normal stuff that you can't do when you watch children all morning long, work all afternoon, and take care of your mother and anything else in the evenings.

We all completely understand and simply are thankful for the fact that she has watched them for as long as she did. She also says she will watch the next babies through their first year, so the break she is asking for is also so she won't be burned out by the time more babies come. Isn't my mom a saint? She really is.

But this means that we need to figure out what to do. Londo and I definitely have a preference. We'd like the babysitter we've had at my mom's to come nanny for us full time. She is about 21 and taking some college classes, but she just told me that she plans to take night classes in the hopes of working more during the day. She was very receptive to the idea of nannying full time. But do you know how expensive nannies are in this area?!?!? Let me just say, they are expensive. Because she is young and her only experience has been with us (and my sister) the past two years, I don't think she will be expecting the highest pay of this area, but it's still going to be a substantial amount.

We are also looking into daycares, but I'm finding it difficult to find time to research, call and schedule appointments with daycares. I'm also having a harder time finding daycare options for under 2 years old, but this might be because I'm just not looking in the right places. I'm sure there are a bunch, and I just need to make time to find them and visit them. But part of that is because Londo and I are really hoping to go with the nanny option, so it's hard to look into the daycares.

Now, we have always planned to put the Pumpkin into daycare at two, so we'd only need the nanny for another year (at least, for the Pumpkin... who knows about future babies). We are hoping that we can somehow find the funds for the nanny for one year, and then daycare will be less expensive so we'll be able to transition to that more easily. We hope. We don't just hope, we have an appointment with a financial planner to help us figure out if all this is possible.

My sister has found a great pre-school where my 2-year-old niece will start in June! I'm thrilled they've found something that they really like and will be able to take her pretty soon. I think she will really thrive in daycare and can't wait to hear all about it. The Pumpkin would probably do great in daycare too, but she's been such a fussy and needy girl that I worry about daycares not being flexible enough to accommodate her needs. I'm sure she'll be fine, and if we can't afford a nanny full time, than we will find a daycare that will be great for her.

You know what's crazy? I never thought I'd be a nanny person. I always thought daycares were so great and really always planned to put my children in them. But our babysitter is so fantastic with the Pumpkin that it's hard to imagine her not continuing to watch her. But it might be the change of things that is worrying me more than anything.

On a last note, tomorrow morning I go to visit a Montessori school. They don't take children younger than 2, but if we like the place, we will put her on the waiting list. Also, I plan to ask them for recommendations for daycares that take children who are 1, figuring they probably know of some good ones.

So that's what is currently going on around here. In addition to the sicknesses and trying to furnish the house and plan get togethers and working like crazy. No, I'm not busy or stressed at all!

DC Area Meet Up

Update below
Another update!

Some of us readers of Ask Moxie have noticed that a bunch of us live in the DC area. There was some talk about getting together with other Moxie readers in the DC area. So, I thought I'd start the process by trying to come up with a plan and solicit opinions and ideas. I also thought I'd invite other bloggers in the area to join in if they wanted.

My initial thoughts are we could meet at the DC zoo some weekend day in April or at a park in Rockville, MD, right off of 270. I personally think the zoo would be the best place for a first meet up, as the kids will be entertained while we chat and it's a central location that is easy to get to.

Right now, I'm looking free on the weekend of May 10-11. Are those dates good?
Update:I can't believe I forgot May 11th is Mother's Day. We may be out of town that weekend. What about the following weekend, May 17-18?
Update over.

Second update:
People! Suggest other dates! I'm not set on any dates. Let's figure out whichever date the majority can make. May 10th might still be good for me, too.
Second update over.

Leave a comment below if you are interested and tell me your thoughts, or email me if you are not comfortable leaving a comment!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Can't Smell a Thing

Did I mention that I'd just started using Zicam to help alleviate my colds, which came one right after another? Once I found out that they were safe to use during breastfeeding, I decided to try it. I thought they were great! When I went one day without it during my last cold, my symptoms got so much worse. Once I started using it again, the symptoms were much better, and the cold quickly ended.

When the second cold came right on top of the first, I immediately started using the Zicam again. It seemed to help, and I thought it was just fantastic. I little swab around the nose 3-4 times a day, and my cold was shorter and easier. Even though I had heard that it could cause lose of smell, I thought that wouldn't be a big deal because you can't smell much with a stuffy nose anyway.

Well, let me tell you something. Lose of smell might seem like a great thing when you are changing the baby's poopy diapers, but because your sense of taste is strongly affected by how things smell, it is not such a great thing when you are trying to enjoy a chocolate croissant! Or really any other food or drink.

I have indeed lost my sense of smell... not completely, as I can smell very potent things when I hold them up to my nose so my nose is literally on it. Not only does this affect my sense of taste, but it is impairing my mommy-abilities too. At one point over the weekend, Londo came downstairs and said that the Pumpkin must have one poopy diaper, which she indeed did. But I had NO IDEA because I couldn't smell a thing. My poor child was sitting around with a diaper full of stinky and I had no idea.

As my nose gets clearer and clearer of the snot, I'm hoping that my sense of smell will come back completely. I'd like to be able to enjoy chocolate again, and waking up to the smell of brewing coffee, and the smell of bread baking (I did indeed make homemade bread!).

On the bright side, I haven't smelled any phantom poop smells in a while. I never thought I'd miss that...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Question of the Week - Reality TV

It's been a long, sick weekend. The Pumpkin and I are both feeling better, but we are both still a little sick and not sleeping well. I did not blog all weekend, and I'm sorry about that. Tonight, I'll have to go to bed early, so I'm not sure how much I'll be able to blog tonight either. I will catch up with everyone eventually.

For now, let's just get to the question of the week.

If you could be (or had to be) on a reality TV show, which would it be?

Now, I would not willingly go on one of those shows, but if I had to be on one, I would want to be on one of the design shows like Designers' Challenge (for our kitchen/family room), Cash in the Attic, Trading Spaces or something like that. Yes, they totally do count as reality TV, and I'll not hear another word about it.

How about you? Would love to be on one? Which would you pick if you had to be on one?

The Beginnings of a Ski Buddy

After lunch, my daughter and I went back up the "magic carpets" to the top of the bunny slopes. She wanted to keep skiing! With me...