Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Last year on Halloween, Penny (15 months) was not happy about... something.  I can't remember.

I love me some costumes and some candy, but Halloween has always been my least favorite decoration holiday, even before I had young kids.  Every year I can't wait for everyone to take down their fake spiderwebs and ghosts to make room for cornucopias and then Christmas lights. 

Our neighbors down the street have adorned their front trees with hanging skull faces wearing black robes. Which is totally their prorogative.  On a walk, our two-year-old noticed them and asked, "who's that?"

Dan handled it perfectly and told her they are just some silly guys.  

Dan and I believe that fear in little kids can be prompted or escalated by the power of suggestion. If no one ever tells her that she's supposed to be scared of plastic skull faces, will she be scared of them?  I'm sure there's scientific data on the topic of toddler psychology and irrational fear, but I don't care enough to research it.  I just know that I don't want anyone to introduce my little girl to the concept of being afraid, in the same way that mothers don't want anyone showing porn to their adolescent boys. 

It's something I've been thinking about a lot.  Sometimes adults default to startling or scaring little kids as a way to interact with them -- as though kids being shocked is as cute as kids being overjoyed.  This bugs me, a lot.  The "I'm gonna get you!" game tows a fine line for me, with the threat of smiles and tickle fingers being on one side, and the threat of roaring in a child's face then pretending to eat their limbs on the other.  It depends on the kid and the age I suppose.

One thing we are trying really hard not to do is suggest that Penny should or shouldn't be scared of something that wouldn't have struck her as frightening to begin with.  We don't even use the word "scary" in our house. Does that make sense?  We are also totally OK if she is genuinely, on her own terms, afraid of something.

This Friday should be interesting.  Thoughts?

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hindmilk / Dairy / Egg Experiment

Warning: this one's all about breastfeeding strategy.  Move on if you're not interested because it's full of boob jargon and specifics that will bore you if you're not in this phase of life.

At about four weeks old my Josephine changed.  Of course babies change all the time, but this was different.  She had become irritable and stiff, arching her back and stretching her neck like it was her job. Fussing, congested, making sad "I'm in pain" facing for a whole half hour before she would poop.  She kicked her legs and flaled her arms like she was struggling. It was emotional for this mama because I felt helpless, and nursing didn't seem to comfort her.

I really knew something was up when her poop turned dark green. Not like "poop-gree"n, but more like dark forest green.

I explained the situation to my online breastfeeding support group and got an overwhelming response from seasoned moms that these could be early signs of a food intolerance (such as dairy protein or soy protein). 

Then I got to googling and read an overwhelming amount of information about food sensitivities and baby allergies.  Since Penny (my toddler) never had any food issues, I always kind of thought they were over-diagnosed or and least overstated.  This blog post  by Robin at A Balanced Life Online really got me thinking though.  And not coincidentally, most of the moms I heard from in my breastfeeding group had eventually gone on an elimination diet, starting with dairy and soy.

Gah.  So overwhelming.  No dairy?? Soy??? reading the labels on every single food item?  And, it can take up to a whole month to get them out of your system completely and see changes in your baby's symptoms to confirm the hypothesis.

Hats off to you ladies who have done this.

But a few women said the green poop and tummy discomfort could be due to an imbalance in foremilk and hindmilk  (the milk at the front of the boob vs. the milk in the back of the boob, which baby gets at the end of a feeding.)   They also said that "oversupply" (producing more breastmilk than your baby needs) can cause babies to miss out on the good stuff in the back of the boob because their tummies are full before they get to it.  I have definitely had a little bit of oversupply going on up in here.  Hashtag placenta encapsulation.  So this really got me thinking too.

I didn't know where to start, but I knew I wanted Josie to feel better.

For the next week I didn't eat any obvious dairy (I say "obvious dairy" because I didn't read any labels, I just passed on cow's milk, cheese, cottage cheese and ice cream).  Almond milk in my cereal.  Blegh.

I also decided to make darn sure Josephine got herself some hindmilk every feeding.  I mostly accomplished this by forcing her to stay on one side until it was empty before letting her move on to the other side, and in the middle of the nights I pumped one side completely and only let her feed on the other for her 2-3 dream feeds.

Pretty much immediately, her poop was back to it's normal yellow/orange, and she was back to her calm happy self.

Since then, I still have been eating very little dairy (so much ice cream in my freezer calling my name... but I shall resist!), but I'm assuming she does not have a bonafide dairy protein intolerance because her symptoms would not have gone away so quickly after cutting down on dairy for just a few days.   However, the other day I ordered a decaf mocha at our local coffee shop and forgot to get it with almond milk instead of cow milk, and I will say that little miss Josie was pretty grumpy that night.... but it could have been the coffee, not the dairy.

I'm also assuming that the increase in her hindmilk consumption helped a lot.

Later I realized that her worst symptoms, that jump-started this whole frenzy, coincided with me eating a large helping of scrambled eggs for breakfast like three days in a row.  So a big part of me has the hunch that the real culprit was eggs.  I haven't eaten whole eggs since.  But I'm also not reading labels.

I'm probably going to eventually give in to one of my ice cream cravings, and that will confirm or invalidate the cow milk theory.  I'm going to some day probably eat eggs again with hopefully the same closure.  I'm going to keep making sure she gets her hind milk.

Until then, I hope my Josie (now seven weeks old) stays happy!

A lot of this is guesswork, but the takeaway is: what we eat definitely affects our babies.  Hats off to all you ladies out there who go on complete elimination diets for the wellbeing of your little ones.  Breastfeeders unite! 

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Rules for Leaving the House with a Newly-Potty-Trained Toddler

This past weekend my darling potty-trained Penelope had the epic accident of all accidents.  Ironically it was near the diaper aisle at Baby Town.  We had been there just short of half-an-hour and she had been quietly sitting in the stroller watching Anna and Olaf YouTube videos on my phone while I talked to the stroller-accessory associate.

All of a sudden Penny was whining and complaining (about nothing), then soon crying uncontrollably and wanting me to carry her.  So annoying.  I didn't want the whining to wake up baby sister, so I obliged and carried her on my hip as I went to peruse the diaper bags.

The sobbing turned to a whisper: "I haffa go pee pee."

Alright! Let's do it! Let's go potty!

But what should have been a beeline to the bathroom was more like headless chicken run because I didn't know where the bathroom was.

Then, it was too late.

A flood.  On her.  On me.  Like, all over me.  My dress, my shoes. All over the floor.  All over the bottom of my dress because the hem dipped in it when I bent down to try to clean some of it up.

Let me tell you, being saturated in urine, in public, is one of the most humbling experiences I've ever lived to tell. 

On to my advice....

Three Rules for Leaving the House with a Newly-Potty-Trained Toddler:

1.  Empty that little bladder pro-actively:   If it has been more than one hour since the last time your kiddo went potty, without exception, taking her potty to at least "try" should be the last thing you do before you leave the house, and the first thing you do when you arrive at your public destination. Without exception. Every single accident Penny has had outside of our house (I think there have been four, in seven weeks) could have been avoided if I had not failed to follow my own rule.  
2. Bring an "accident pack":  Quart-size ziploc bags can fit toddler-sized panties, t-shirt, shorts, and socks; and add a plastic grocery bag (for the stuff that gets pee on it, which might or might not fit in the ziploc).  This can fit nicely in your diaper bag or purse.   Keep it on you in the public place.  Not in the trunk of the car, not in the stroller that you keep in the trunk of the car, not in the toddler's backpack that you decided to leave in the car.  On you.  The time that you don't have it on your person will be the time that your kid has the biggest accident in the worst place with the the car parked the farthest away.   Speaking of cars, keeping a beach towel somewhere in the car is not a terrible idea.   
3. Have a game plan for how you will react when accidents happen. Because they will, happen.  Not just how to clean up efficiently, etc., but the emotional stuff.  Mentally prepare yourself:  What words will you use? Are you going to introduce consequences?  If so, what will be the punishment?  Will you talk about it later or let it be a thing of the past?  Part of potty training is being a toddler brain ninja.  The psychology of it all is huge. How you react when things happen, positive and negative, will affect what they do next time.  The last thing you want to do is completely flip out on your little munchkin the first time they have an Ooopsie in public.  Or maybe that's the first thing you want to do.  Decide ahead of time where your strategy lands on the spectrum between making your kid not want to ever ever have an accident again (with possible fear and shame) and making your kid still feel loved and accepted and that it's ok to have accidents sometimes (with possible nonchalance).
Back to my story...

It was all my fault.

I didn't take her potty as soon as we arrived at the store.  The "accident pack" wasn't in the stroller that I was pushing both girls around in (it was in the car).   It was a nightmare.

Thank God I was at a store that sold pull-ups.  And thank God my Josephine slept through the whole thing.  I don't think I could have handled it if I had also had a crying infant during this escapade.

This was the first day I left the house on my own with both girls since Josie was born, P.S.   You should have seen the look at the salesperson's face as she watched me stand there uttering this is happening... this is happening... as my daughter peed down my whole body.

Your time will come, my friends. Don't say I didn't warn you.  Be prepared.

(you can read my first post about Potty Training here)

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life with Two Kids

I recently joined the "two kids" club, my oldest being two-years and and my youngest five-weeks now.  Nothing prepares you for parenthood, and having the second kid is no different.  I have heard that after two kids, adding a third or fourth gets easier, but that going from one to two is the hardest of all the transitions.  I can't vouch for this, but I can tell you that this has been an adjustment to say the least.  People ask me often: "What's it like having two kids now?"

Two kids means it takes an hour to leave the house just to go for a walk because the toddler threw four consecutive tantrums, and when she was actually ready to leave, the infant who had been sleeping that whole time woke up and needed a feeding, during which the toddler took off all her clothes and unpacked most of her toy cabinet.

Two kids means a diaper bag that is so full that I can't even find a place for a small journal to take notes in at church.  Two kids means never being on time for church, or anything.

Two kids means taking three showers in one day because one has pooped and barfed on me (separate occasions), and the other peed through her panties, all over the kitchen chair and herself, and cannot bathe alone yet. Also, two kids means some days I don't even take one shower, and I don't care.

Two kids means when one person in the house has boogers, everybody else gets boogers too, and there is no way to keep a new baby away from a toddler's germs.

Two kids means two dogs have truly made it to the bottom of the totem pole and get minimal attention and no exercise.  Two kids means one more tiny human best friend for the dogs to love, these sweet sweet loyal dogs.

Today I did five loads of laundry: two-beds-worth of sheets and mattress covers due to projectile spit up and a leaky pull-up; all the kid laundry; and one load for myself.  Two kids means wearing the same favorite yoga pants and nightgowns over and over.   Two kids means the laundry actually never ends, more so than when you had just one kid and used to say the same thing.

Two kids means taking an embarrassingly long time to get Thank You notes written and sent out for all the generous gifts and meals people have been blessing us with.  Sorry guys, my thank-you-etiquette stinks right now.

Two kids means playing a little game with myself to finagle the schedule for the longest possible stretch of time when both are sleeping simultaneously.  Two kids means relishing my limited "me" time more than ever before, and being very selective about what I do with it. Sometimes I sleep.  Sometimes I edit photos (which I love doing, so it qualifies).  A lot of times I do things besides respond to texts and emails -- sorry guys, my friend-etiquette stinks.  A lot of times I do things besides clean the house, but what else is new.

The love I had to give my children grew exponentially when I had my second baby, so there's plenty of that to go around.  But I don't have plenty of hands, there is still only one me.  Two kids means that if they both need something at the same time, one of them gets the short end of the stick.  This, to me, is the hardest part.  Whether it's food, a diaper change, discipline, cuddles, a kiss on an owie, tummy time, eye contact, or a longer bedtime routine after a tough evening; kids need constantly.  If they're both awake at the same time, they both need something.  It kills me that I don't hold Josephine as much because I have to put her down to take Penny potty, or fix a peanut butter sandwich, or facilitate a time-out effectively.  It kills me to see Penelope's disappointment when I tell her I can't play because I'm nursing, or to have to cut a book short before her nap because Josie just started screaming in the other room.  Two kids means figuring out balance and reminding myself that they are going to turn out ok even though they don't both have mommy's attention every second of every day.

Two kids means "sleep when the baby sleeps" is laughable.

Two kids means sometimes missing out on the opportunity to go number two and being real real bummed out about it because hemorrhoids from birth don't relent just because your toddler took forever to get out of the car.  

Two kids means thank God for whoever invented video monitors and pacifiers and baby-wearing.

Two kids means crying about something almost every day.  Sometimes feeling like I'm no good at this; that this phase is never going to go away.  Feeling shame in accepting help and frustration that I can't do it all myself.  Two kids means asking for help even when I don't want to.

Two kids means being overwhelmed by the joy of it all.  A heart so full of emotion and attachment and fulfillment and purpose that it could burst.  I think that's where the tears come from too.  Getting to mommy this?  I wouldn't trade my life for anything right now.

Two kids means more matching outfits in our future; which I swore I would never...

Two kids means all the writing I do starts as a note on my phone, in bits and pieces, dictated or typed with one thumb as I'm nursing.   ...And still feeling grateful that I have this outlet to share a story in the universal motherhood community.  Thanks for reading.

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


say hello to my little friends, sand and boogs

Fall in Arizona means monsoons and over-seeding the lawns, which means all kinds of allergens in the air. The Griffins all got us some allergy symptoms real real BAD this year. As bad as the grammar of that sentence.

I have found some relief with saline rinse, over-the-counter nose spray and eye drops, but mostly I've been wallowing in the misery of "Boo Hoooo I've been pregnant or breastfeeding for three years and I can't have my Claritin-D." Sad face.

Dan, the lucky rascal, can take all the decongestants and antihistamines in the world and his milk supply doesn't change. Unfortunately, like always, he got it the worst.  He is a real whiner when he's not feeling well. Why are men so terrible at being sick?

And in case you were wondering, a toddler on (half a dose of) Children's Benadryl might present with drowsiness... or she might be a crazy-eyed stumbling drunk, ready to party. We took our chances and had ourselves the latter. At bedtime. And the next day she still woke up in the morning with a fountain of snot on her face.

Looking forward to more consistent weather and no an end to this mucus fest.

Mamas of infants: if you don't have one already, get online and order yourselves a Nose Frida Nasal Aspirator right now. Your day of family boogers will come, and your baby won't be immune to it, and you're gonna be glad you did.

Until next time.

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Josie Lu: One Month Old

This has been the fastest month of my life.  I can't believe I'm blogging this right now.


I don't know exactly how much our littlest one weighs because we haven't made any visits to the doctor or breastfeeding group in the last couple of weeks, but when I weighed her at home today on the grownup scale (in my arms) she weighed in at just under ten pounds.  She's also pretty long and has outgrown all the newborn-size pajamas and some of the 0-3mo clothes (depending on the brand) due to her length and giant feet.

Josephine's new baby fuzz hairs are coming in very blonde. I am hopeful that these hairs thrive and don't fall out so that she won't go through the same bald-man cul-de-sac phase that her sister did.  It would be so cool if her hair went red like my grandmother's, I've always wanted a redhead in my brood of offspring.

Her eyelashes finally came in (she was born without any) and her eyes are still blue blue blue, I think it's going to stick.  She no longer has dry skin all over her body, now it's just mainly on her forehead (you can see it in the photos, I chose not to edit it out!).  Her skin is fair and sensitive, and she gets red and blotchy when she touches certain fabrics or is held by someone wearing strong perfume.  She's got little fat rolls developing on her arms and thighs that I just wanna pinch all the time.  She's sturdy and very alive in her demeanor. 


Little Josie finally took a pacifier at about 3 weeks. I had forgotten what it's like to have a baby who can't pick up her own pacifier and put it in her mouth by herself.  So much checking and replacing and digging in the car seat.  I also had forgotten what a relief it is to have the pacifier option!  It's like instant relief.  I love to watch her take it and be immediately soothed. 

In one month she has had five baths, four of which came only because she got poop all over herself in a massive diaper blowout.  Baffling how a bum so small, pointed in the downward direction, could project excrement so high and with such gusto onto one's back.  I've thrown away two onesies because there was just too much to make it worth trying to clean.  Sorry that was gross.  But it is, gross.   She didn't like her first two baths, but I think I've got a better system now and she doesn't seem to mind them.

She expresses herself a lot with grunting.  We call her "Grunty" as a nickname (we should probably stop, lest big sister pick up on it and use it for life).  When she's fussy, it almost always involves something needing to go in or come out of her body.  Other than that, she's very calm and composed and observant.

Her eye contact and head control / neck strength seem advanced.  She's smiling a little, and cooing a little. She tracks the big kids, like Penny and her cousins, with much interest.  She seems to like peek-a-boo.  We say "Peek-a-Boo Josie Lu!" and might get a little smile.


I think I have a little bit of oversupply going on (which I attribute to my placenta pills) and I think I have a faster flow this time around.  She nurses for only about five minutes per feeding (so fast, right?) and is gaining weight like a champ.  Our pediatrician noted that she might have been overeating in the beginning, which would account for all the barfing and the tummy discomfort she had, and so I've been spacing our her feedings a little bit, and cutting her off when she starts to get antagonistic at the boob.  She gets the hiccups after every feeding which is adorable.  She spits up after almost every feeding which is not so adorable, but it's  not so bad.


I have no complaints.  I don't do schedules or sleep training at this age, but she is pretty much like clockwork during the day, sleeping two hours at a time and then awake for about an hour and a half in between.  She is very predictable and I can tell when she is hungry versus when she is just tired and wants to be swaddled and left alone so she can sleep.  She doesn't "need" to be held to help her fall asleep, which is kind of sad because, well it means less cuddle time, but also kind of wonderful since she's not my first baby and I can't just sit around and stare at her all day.  She also sleeps well when I wear her in my wrap, or in the car seat.  At night time, she wakes up about every three hours to feed but usually goes right back to sleep unless she's working on filling up a diaper (or three), which could take up to an hour.  Those are the nights I do a lot of blog-drafting or list-making on my phone.  Or I stalk your Facebook pages.   :)

We love our little Josie girl. 

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...