Pregnancy Journal

May 9, 2008
You know you’re pregnant when you buy three Costco items not on your list just because you liked the samples.

I took a pregnancy test yesterday morning and began my plan for telling John (who happened to be working from home all day.) It was fun to carry my secret around those few hours. Caroline and I played in the morning. Then we ran some errands. When we got home, we baked brownies, and I went and took a digital pregnancy test. I used a cookie cutter to cut a brownie into a positive sign, handed it and the digital test with PREGNANT on it to Caroline, and asked her to take them to her daddy. He took them. Caroline said, “Look, it’s a cross.” I added that it is also a plus sign or a positive sign. John agreed. He ate the brownie. Caroline handed him the test, and he said, “That’s mommy’s.”

And then he turned back to his computer.

I left the room not knowing what was going on. Was he upset? I gave myself a moment to calm down, and then I just went in the bedroom and asked him, “What’s up with you?” He was puzzled. I had to explain everything to him, and then he got it! He didn’t even look at the pregnancy test. He thought Caroline was playing store and bringing him something to check out.

I called my doctor to make sure continuing to workout is fine. It is, but I need to keep my heartrate below 140. I’ll still walk on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes, I’ll just slow down my pace and use no incline. I made a doctor’s appointment for seven weeks. My estimated due date is January 15.

I feel a bit silly now with how down I got over not being pregnant “already” after three months. I was being such a fatalist. I’m so happy to be cutting out the wine and cutting down on the diet cokes!

And I just read that Michelle Duggar is due to birth her 18th child the same month I will. It does seem odd to me that she announced her pregnancy to the whole world (via The Today Show) at just six weeks.

May 16, 2008
Brush teeth. Chat on phone with friend. I feel it coming…gotta get off the phone. Uh, uh, gag, uh…And so the “morning sickness” begins again.

June 16, 2008
Actually, the morning sickness hasn’t been that bad at all, at least not compared to my past two pregnancies. I’ve thrown up four times, I think. I’ll get a wave of nausea every now and then, but I’m not throwing up. I’m tired, but I am resting. We went on a family cruise last week, which was just great timing. I booked it right before I found out I was pregnant, knowing there was a possibility I’d be pregnant on the cruise. I figured – a vacation where I can nap every day, be waited on for every meal, and have no housework would be a great first trimester treat. It was! We had a great time. I did tell our tablemates a few days in to the cruise that I was pregnant. A mom was cruising with her teenaged daughters, one of whom ordered a virgin strawberry daiquiri two separate times – to be served a regular alcoholic daiquiri both times. I confessed that I’d sure like to order a virgin drink for myself but that I just couldn’t take the risk of having the order messed up.

I’ve been going to the doctor every week or so for ultrasound checks – for reassurance. The baby is measuring a bit behind my original due date per my cycle (January 15). We’ve seen a strong heartbeat, though, so my doctor isn’t concerned. She said she’ll give me a firm due date at my next appointment.

June 20, 2008
Doctor’s Appointment today
Weight: holding steady – even after that cruise! 
B/P: 102/68
Dating per ultrasound: 9 weeks 5 days (EDD Jan 19)
I am really, really tired all the time. Caroline is in a sometimes-napping stage. When she doesn’t nap, I let her watch TV while I snooze for an hour or so. It helps. I find I can get more done in the mornings if I take it slowly, so my plan for the next couple of weeks is to stay home in the mornings – slowly doing whatever chores I have to do and doing some activities with Caroline. Then I have her signed up for an afternoon camp from 1:30 to 4:30 every day next week. (I’m just going to sign her up one week at a time.) That will give me the chance to nap without parking her in front of the TV and will keep her awake and active so that she’ll go to bed at a decent hour. Naps are nice, but staying up until 9:30 or 10 p.m. is not.

July 9, 2008
I shared our news with my family last week, though the announcement did not go according to my plan. I had ordered a shirt that says “Bun in the Oven” and planned to wear it and see how long it took them to figure it out. Instead, I told daddy and Mary both in tears as I was afraid Sophi had Fifth’s Disease. She did not, and I had my immunity checked and am already immune. That’s something we won’t have to worry about so much now. I told Carlye, too, because I’m announcing to the Bindels this weekend and had a feeling that we may need to coordinate our announcements. We do!  I’m making shirts for Caroline and Georgia to wear to a party at Granda’s house Saturday night.

My friend Caroline brought me her Baby Beats doppler just a few days before I found out I was pregnant. John and I have been listening to the heartbeat every night now for a couple of weeks. I am so glad to have that! Dr. McNelis had her baby last week, so I’ll see one of her partners at my appointment tomorrow.

I’m still wearing my regular clothes, but I sure look fat in them. I think anyone who is paying attention probably has this pregnancy pegged already. They’re being kind and not saying anything, though.

July 10, 2008
Since Dr. McNelis is on maternity leave, I saw on of her partners. It really makes me appreciate my doctor. This other lady was nice, sure, and did her job fine, but I just like Dr. McNelis better. And Dr. McNelis gives me ultrasounds every visit. This lady just used the doppler to check the heartbeat. We do that at home. She did give a count, though, of 156 bpm. Right in the middle of the gender predictions, but she said it’s early for that anyway.

July 15, 2008
Feeling quite a bit better. Still gag occasionally. Still very tired. But it is all bearable.

We told the Bindels this weekend at a family gathering. It took a few minutes for anyone to notice their shirts, but once they did, everyone was excited for us. Looks like Bindel babies are coming every month from October to March (except February.)

August 1, 2008
John and I went to have an ultrasound last week. I chose that for reassurance instead of having the NT scan done (a test for Downs Syndrome that is pretty inconclusive anyway.) Baby was moving a lot. Heartbeat was 156 bpm. I’m thinking girl. My belly is growing, for sure, so keeping my secret is not working so well. I had lunch with some friends from an old playgroup. One of them asked right away. I told some other friends this week, too. I suppose news will slowly spread as my tummy does.

August 13, 2008
We’re pretty open with our news now, as if it isn’t obvious by looking at me. I wore maternity pants this week at 18 weeks. I called and told Nanny yesterday, and she has a quilt she started for my last pregnancy that she will finish for this baby. I was touched by that. My blood pressure was high at this appointment, too. 130/80 last month and this month. Dr. McNelis said they don’t get concerned / medicate until 150s over 100s. She thinks that I have hypertensive tendencies already, and that I am stressed and worried at this point in my pregnancy due to the loss at this time last pregnancy. She said my bp will probably go down once I get past 20 weeks. I stopped and took it at the HEB pharmacy this week and the first time was 112/72. Second time was 107/70. Much better! I believe I’m feeling some flutters, too!

August 28, 2008
We had our 20-week anatomy ultrasound today. I had listened to the heartbeat before we left so that I wouldn’t be terrified, but of course, I was still nervous. Baby was moving around lots. Caroline was fascinated that the baby was kicking me so much. The tech did comment that I have a low-lying placenta. It is at 1.7 cm, and she said they like to see it at 4 cm. My internet research tells me 2-3 cm is acceptable, though, and that it will most likely move in these next weeks. If it doesn’t, I’d have to have a c-section. I’m OK if it comes to that.

Baby weighs 11 ounces. Heartrate was 153 bpm.

September 4, 2008
Last night, John felt the baby move for the first time, and he and I both SAW it move from the outside. Very exciting!!

September 7, 2008
Doctor’s appointment
weight — up six pounds
bp — 114/70 — much better! My doc was right, I guess.
I forgot to ask what the baby’s heart rate was, but we listened and doc said it sounded good.
She said not to give that low-lying placenta a second though. It will fix itself in the coming months as my uterus grows. It was at 1.7 cm she said, and it just needs to be at 2 cm.
And it has nowhere to grow by up. 🙂

October 6, 2008
Doctor’s appointment
weight — up 12 pounds (similar to my weight-gain pattern with Caroline)
bp — 114/70 (again)
fundal height: 27 cm (I’m only 26 weeks but doc says it’s give or take a couple of cm)
blood sugar level per the one-hour GTT: 151 — winning me an 8-hour-fast and chance to take the three-hour glucose tolerance test

October 8, 2008
I passed the three-hour-glucose tolerance test.

November 3, 2008
Doctor’s appointment
weight — up 18 pounds
bp — 120/72
fundal height — 31 1/2 cm
I’ll start seeing the doctor every other week now. I made my next appointment for a Tuesday and plan to take Caroline along.

I have been feeling lots of pressure on my bladder. For example, I can’t walk the block without feeling like I have to pee urgently. It is very tempting to stop at one of those Johnny-on-the-Spots the construction crews have all over the place in our neighborhood. Once I stop walking, though, the urge isn’t there so much. I’m also having some shortness of breath. I think that’s a combination of a lingering cold and baby decreasing my lung capacity.

Once I get Christmas and fall/winter birthday wrapping completed (I’ve done my Christmas shopping and bought for the upcoming birthdays through January already), I’ll start sorting baby clothes and diapers and getting that stuff set up. I’d like to have that all ready by Christmas and just spend the last weeks of pregnancy resting.

November 13, 2008
Headache last night like I’ve never had in my life. Got out of breath really easily this morning, like when just talking on the phone to my sister. Really thirsty. Mary convinced me to call my doctor. When the nurse called me back, she had me come in for some monitoring. I sat in a nice cushy recliner hooked up to a monitor for a few minutes. Everything sounded perfect. Blood pressure was 110/68, and urine looked fine. Nurse felt around on my tummy and just said I was probably out of breath because the baby is taking up my lung space. Dr. McNelis checked in on my and verified being out of breath is just part of being pregnant.

November 25, 2008
Biweekly appointment today. I had Caroline with me and had an important wine-drinking-question on my mind (she always asks if I have any questions and I rarely do), so I forgot to ask what my belly measurement was. Weight is so bad I’m embarrassed to record it (up 26 pounds). BP was 112 / 66.

Sleeping is not going well. I can’t get comfortable. Rolling over hurts (round ligament pain.) I think the ideal would be sleeping in two-hour increments throughout the day…Hmmm…sort of how a newborn sleeps!

December 16, 2008
Less than a month to go! Today was the first of my weekly appointments (though due to Christmas, it will be a bit more than a week until my next appointment.)

36 weeks
fundal height: 37 cm
weight: up 28 pounds
bp: 120/80
baby is head down but still high

I don’t really sleep anymore. I doze. I feel OK, though. I am having lots of braxton hicks contractions, but that means nothing as far as when labor might begin.

December 27, 2008
I noticed today that those nice smiles and nods acknowledging the beautiful life growing inside of me are now more looks of pity. As I waddled into the bathroom at Costco, one woman even said the words, “Awwww…Better you than me.”

I’m not going to estimate weight, but I do think this baby is going to be two feet long.

December 29, 2008
37 weeks, 5 days
Doctor says “I’ll see you next week.” Bah!
Baby is still high; one centimeter dilated; 50 percent effaced
BP was 120 / 82 (nurse said that is fine, though)
Didn’t pay attention to the rest.
I will have antibiotics during labor because I tested positive for Group B Strep.
Everything on my birth plan looked fine to my doctor.
John, Caroline, and I toured the new Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital yesterday. Huge, nice, new L&D rooms.

January 2, 2009
False alarm! After timing contractions five minutes apart for an hour in the middle of the night, I called Mary to head to Austin. John got up and put the car seat in and loaded my bags and laid down with Caroline. I laid down, too, and continued timing those five minute apart contractions. They weren’t awful, but they were coming every five minutes. We headed to the hospital a bit after the Satoros arrived, and Daddy and Karen were on their way, too. Once we were in the car, the contractions stopped. We should have just turned around and come home, but we continued on the hospital. Once they got me hooked up on all the monitors and I still wasn’t having contractions, I asked to go home. They had to keep me on the monitors for a certain period of time but then let me go. Very embarrassing and inconvenient for my family. They were very nice about it all, though.

January 6, 2008
I am getting so many phone calls, emails, and facebook messages that I feel really loved. 🙂 I’ll be 39 weeks tomorrow. Please pray that I go into labor on my own SOON as I do not want a repeat c-section, but I also do not want to go much past my due date.
BP: 120/80
Dilation: 2 cm
Weight: up 36 pounds
Fundal Height: 37 cm — I thought that seemed small but doc said it doesn’t mean much. I asked if that meant I wouldn’t have a nine-pounder. She felt my tummy and says it is definitely in the eight pound range right now. I know I feel movement really high and really low. Lots of baby in there!

Pregnancy II Journal

This is the journal I kept during my second pregnancy, which ended in a loss at 20 weeks.

September 17, 2007
Just nine days short of three years ago, I found out I was pregnant with Caroline. I’ve been saying that three years between kids seems like a good separation, and that’s just what we’ll get! My estimated due date, per the online calculators, is May 28.

I took two home pregnancy tests today, just to be sure. Then Caroline and I went to Target and bought some iron-on printable transfers and a shirt for her. I quickly (and shoddily) made a shirt for her that says “Big Sister in Training” and got it on her before John got home from work. She hugged him. They played. He held her. He noticed the new shoes she was wearing. Finally, when we were outside and she was playing at her water table, “making rain,” I told her to be careful so she wouldn’t mess up her special shirt. John said, “What’s special about it?” And I just waited. He said, “What does it say?” Pause. “Is she really?” Yup, she is. 🙂

September 27, 2007
The morning sickness begins.

I know holding off on our announcement through the first trimester will be much harder, if not impossible this time. My dad is stopping off here tomorrow to get Caroline and me and drop us off at my sister’s for the week. Keeping my secret was going to be hard enough without the throwing up! We’ll see how suspicious she gets.

I have made an appointment for late October with the same doctor that delivered Caroline. I loved this doctor throughout my pregnancy and was happy with my delivery and c-section. She truly did everything indicated to prevent it. I am not scheduling a repeat c-section, though. My recovery from the surgery wasn’t bad, but I hated hearing Caroline gurgling on the fluids that weren’t pushed out of her lungs and despised battling the thrush that the antibiotics brought on. I have much reading to do in preparation since, in a way, this is almost like a first delivery.

October 6, 2007
During my stay with my sister, I refused all alcohol, demanded a trip to Brahm’s for ice cream, napped every day, and never helped with cooking — you’d think my pregnant state would be obvious.

John arrived for the weekend to pick me up, and we all went out on the Satoro’s boat on Saturday morning. Cruising along — taking turns driving (even Caroline), I was suddenly overwhelmed by the exhaust fumes and a whiff of Caroline’s Pirate’s Booty. I hollered for John to stop (he was at the wheel at that moment) and leaned myself over the side of the boat to barf.

My dad was baffled, commenting that I’d never gotten sick on a boat in the 34 years years I’d been boatriding. My sister, not at all baffled, yelled “She’s PREGNANT!” I had to admit it. So much for holding out the first trimester. It was good to share the news. I didn’t feel like such an awful houseguest. I got to pick our lunch spot. It was nice.

October 8, 2007
Today, with my nausea and Caroline’s crankiness, I’m really worried about what I’m getting myself into. I feel lousy. I can stand up and do about one thing at a time — sort the laundry, then take a break. Fold the socks. Then take a break. Scrub a toilet. Then take a break. I’ve eaten a piece of peanut butter toast (but didn’t keep it for long), a bowl of dry cheerios, two popsicles, a banana, and a bag of popcorn. It is now 3:30. I think I want another popsicle.

Caroline’s little body and mommy’s not-so-little body are not working well together. Caroline’s bottom two-year molars are making their appearance at the height of mommy’s morning all-day sickness. I know, I know, this is just a taste of what life with two will be.

October 12, 2007
When one is first-trimester pregnant, all the rules and structure one aspires to as a parent (or even as a human being) are off. It is 10:30 in the morning. I am in pajamas, and Caroline is wearing only panties. I just ate what should have been my lunch, leftovers from last night. She is eating popcorn. The television has been on PBS all morning. The laundry from yesterday is still in the dryer. And I’m ready for a nap!

October 18, 2007
First doctor’s appointment today. Weight check — why didn’t I diet before getting pregnant? Urine deposit. Tons of paperwork with the nurse. Exam by doctor. Ultrasound.

The stats:
BP: 102 / 68
Blood vials: 5
Dating: 8 weeks 4 days
Due Date: May 25, 2008

We did talk about a VBAC, and she said she had to tell me that there is a chance that the area from my incision could come apart during labor, and the baby or I could die as a result of uterine rupture. She said it would be more likely that I would leave her office and get hit by a car in the parking lot, but that she had to tell me about the risk. They will do fetal monitoring during labor, though, because before rupture, the baby usually shows signs of distress.

October 23, 2007
I am feeling better, nausea-wise, but I’m still tired. I’ve been taking B-Natals — they sure help! We told my extended family at the family reunion this weekend, and we called John’s family and told them, too. We didn’t exactly make an announcement to my family. We arrived, and as we were unloading the car, Aunt Becky asked me why my butt was so big. Feel the love? Caroline got to tell her Aunt Carlye on the phone “I be big sister.” When her Aunt Stephanie called back, though, Caroline must have forgotten the coaching I’d given her on her line. I handed Caroline the phone and told her to tell Buffy what she’s going to be. “I be butterly, Buffy.” Well, it’s true. She’s going to be a butterfly for Halloween — that’s much more exciting than being whatever a big sister is.

November 15, 2007
Doctor’s appointment today, 12 weeks 4 days.
Weight: +1 pound (not sure how that’s possible as I feel 30 pounds heavier and have the breath capacity that goes with that kind of weight gain!)
BP: 110/62
Fetal length: 6.24 cm

Doc said “Everything looks perfect!”

The nausea is better but still rears its ugly head, especially when I brush my teeth. I am still pretty tired, too. I’m looking forward to the happy second trimester coming up soon. I am wearing elastic waist bands exclusively, which mostly means sweats or yoga pants. I did splurge on a Bella Band and wore it to church Sunday with a pair of dress slacks. It was nice not to feel totally dumpy.

December 20, 2007
Another doctor’s appointment, 17 weeks 4 days.
Weight +5 lbs
BP: Much higher at 135/70 — I have a cold and was am having trouble catching my breath
Listened to heartbeat and took a peek on sonogram — everything looks great (well, alien-like, but as it should look).
Heartbeat was high 140s to low 150s.
My OB told me she is almost eight weeks pregnant!
I asked about the scar check after the c-section that I had read about in my VBAC books (they advice against it.) She doesn’t do it!! Yay!

Here’s my reading list so far:
Reading month-by-month
The Pregnancy Book by Sears and Sears

Silent Knife by Cohen
The VBAC Companion by Korte

I’m feeling good, sometimes tired and sometimes (in the middle of the night) restless. No more nausea, though. I’m wearing maternity clothes now — more than a month earlier than last time!

January 10, 2007
When John, Caroline, and I went in for the routine anatomy ultrasound, we learned that our baby had died sometime since my last appointment. The news slowly sunk in, and I checked in to the hospital that night, asked for and had another ultrasound to confirm the baby’s death, and was induced. I delivered a baby boy on Friday, January 11 at 10:22 p.m.

WFMW: Parenting Advice Edition — Don’t Watch the Clock; Watch the Baby!

It started as breastfeeding advice that I heard in a La Leche League meeting. “Don’t watch the clock; watch the baby.” Great advice for nursing to make sure you establish a good milk supply and meet your baby’s ever-changing needs rather than putting your child on a rigid schedule. It also seems to work well beyond nursing — sleep, solids, potty-training, weaning, new experiences. As a classic Type A personality, I like to be in control. I like to PLAN. I like to read the latest research to support my choices. That’s all great, but it all has to come down to what *my child* is ready for. Are bedtimes or naptimes becoming challenging? Perhaps her sleep needs have changed and it’s time to reevaluate our routine. How do I know she’s ready for solids? Is she showing signs of potty readiness? Should I put her in a playschool program or keep her at home with me? No book can have all the right answers for every child. As parents, we have to watch our babies, know our babies, and read the signs from our babies (however old those babies) to know what they need.

Watch the baby.

That’s the advice that has WORKED FOR ME. I hope it works for you, too.

For more Works for Me Wednesday Ideas — specifically “parenting advice” ideas, this week’s theme, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

The Journey to the Potty

No more diapers here! When I was planning our potty training time, I thought we’d go for a three-day-at-home bootcamp (diaper-free, stay home) over the Fourth of July weekend. Then I realized that July 4 was in the middle of the week and I wouldn’t have daddy back-up so that Caroline could just be at home in panties for three days straight. I thought about putting the process off until Labor Day weekend, but then all of a sudden, Caroline seemed ready and I decided to just go for it! I’ve always heard it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so I wanted to have 21 days in panties before I declared it a new way of life.

Day One:

used potty all morning, wore diaper for nap, then back in panties
pee’d on Mother’s Helper and went back in diaper for rest of day

Day Two:
wearing diaper out of house; peeing in potty in house
pee’d and pooped on potty of her own initiation!

Day Three:
Brought potty into master bathroom on her own while I was in the shower, went back and got a book, came back and sat down and pooped
First outing out of house in training pants — pee’d in public toilet at Heartsong Music Together

Days Four through Seven:
sometimes in diapers, sometimes in panties, some accidents
moved from waterproof training pants to padded panties for outings

Day Eight:
going out of house in panties, using public toilets
accident at home — pee’d on floor about five minutes after pooping on potty (told John “It happens.”)

Day Nine:
waking up dry from naps

Day Ten:
in panties all time now — pee’d on floor at friend’s house (and still talks about it)

Day Eleven:
asked to pee in middle of night — dry besides that
no accidents!
used public toilets a couple of times during day

Day Twelve:
no accidents, used public toilet
dry all night without a potty break

Day Thirteen:
no accidents!

Day Fourteen:
refused to take off overnight diaper when she woke up — peed in it and then let me put her in panties
used public toilet while out shopping
insisted on napping in diaper

Day Fifteen:
No accidents!

Day Sixteen:
Uh oh…playing outside…gotta poop. Didn’t make it inside in time.

Day Seventeen through Twenty-One:
Still having occasional poop misses (but only one pee pee accident in two weeks!)
Wearing a diaper overnight
I’m comfortable enough going out with her in panties as she will use public bathrooms (with a potty ring)

Today: Woke up dry!

Some things I found helpful through this process:
Potty Training Info at
Baby Bjorn Potty Chair
Baby Bjorn Potty Ring
Once Upon a Potty
Potty for Me
Trickle Free Trainers
Gerber panties

Normalizing the Natural

After Caroline was born, when nursing consumed much of my time and thoughts, (as if it doesn’t now!) I was surprised at how often nursing was mentioned in the fiction I was reading and on television. Was it always there and I just didn’t notice? A discussion came up recently on a listserv for breastfeeding counselors to which I subscribe, lamenting the lack of breastfeeding in fiction. The other list readers and I compiled this list of books that do have breastfeeding characters. When you put together a care package for a new mom, be sure to include oatmeal cookies and one of these novels. 🙂

Books I’ve read:
So, What do you do all day? by Amy Scheibe
Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
Life Studies by Susan Vreeland
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maquire
The Lucky Ones: A Novel by Rachel Cusk
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

Books others mentioned:
Ten Big Ones, Janet Evanovich
Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
The Wandering Hill, Larry McMurty
The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
Into the Forest, Jean Hegland
The Summer of my Amazing Luck, Miriam Toews
The Singer from the Sea, Sherri Tepper
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Lives touched by Breastfeeding ed by Boas, Hazell, and Casey
Strange Fits of Passion by Anita Shreve
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

Series that include breastfeeding as a given for their characters:
Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel
The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Skye O’Malley by Beatrice Small
Royal Diaries (young adult)
American Girl (young adult)

Authors who often included breastfeeding as the norm:
Nora Roberts
Danielle Steele
Catherine Asaro
Julian May
Teri Levitson
Susan Elizabeth Phillips

**I have not read all of these books myself. This list is a collaborative effort. If you have books to add, please email me or leave a comment. I’ll edit to add them!

Works for Me Wednesday — Toddler Nutrition

Toddlers aren’t the best eaters. Most moms worry about their kids’ nutrition. I don’t stress over how many veggies my daughter eats or fight to get a lead-laden vitamin in her daily because I know she is getting a good dose of the nutrition she needs from mommy’s milk.

(from Kelly Mom)

    • In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL (that’s about 15 ounces) of breastmilk provides:
      • 29% of energy requirements
      • 43% of protein requirements
      • 36% of calcium requirements
      • 75% of vitamin A requirements
      • 76% of folate requirements
      • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
      • 60% of vitamin C requirements

      — Dewey 2001

This nutritionally-sound milk also protects my daughter from the germ-y world. She gets my immunities through my milk, and since she and I are usually together, we are exposed to the same things. Since a human’s immune system isn’t fully developed until two years of age, nursing is the best thing I can do to keep my daughter healthy now. The health benefits she gets now will continue with her for the rest of her life.

for scholarly research about the nutritional benefits of extended nursing, search Google Scholar.
for breastfeeding support and information, contact La Leche League.
I’m sure I’ll be posting more about toddler nursing in the coming weeks and months, so check back here, too!
For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Saving up for a kid’s wedding birthday party

Fox News reports today that kids’ birthday parties are out of control.

This is timely because just this week I called the Cedar Parks Parks Department to see about reserving a pavillion at the Brushy Creek Park for Caroline’s 2nd birthday party (keep in mind, it is now January, and her birthday is the last day of May!). The Brushy Creek Park has a great sprinkler play area and a nice playgroup, so I thought it would be great for a hot, summer day. Reserving the pavillion costs $75. Not a deposit. That’s the cost. And it is already booked for the Saturday after her birthday, but it is available on the day of her birthday. Doesn’t matter — I said no. I know that is paltry amount compared to what many pay for party locations, but Caroline is only going to be two! We have a really nice neighborhood pool, so we’ll have her party there. For her first birthday, we went to the park and had cake. We invited many friends, and I think there were about 15 kids there, but half of those were relatives. We requested no gifts, and we gave out no goody bags. I think we’ll go with tradition this year, though, with gifts and goody bags. And since I’ve been fed at most of the parties I’ve been to, we’ll cook burgers and hot dogs as well as have cake. Simple compared to many, but more than the birthday parties of my childhood.

An interesting grass-roots movement has started in the Midwest — Birthdays without Pressure. They have some nice ideas.

Works for Me Wednesday

I have learned (and am learning) so much from and been inspired by other moms in the blog-o-sphere through carnivals like Tackle it Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday, that I’ve decided to give back to the web, in a way, and join in. You’ve seen two weeks of Tackle it Tuesday so far — that’s for inspiration and accountability — now you’ll see Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Rocks in my Dryer, for ideas to use at home or with the kids.

Babysitter’s Club
Stay-at-home moms of toddlers need a break every now and then, so some neighbors and I formed a babysitting swap. Since I’m not interested in regularly leaving my daughter in a paid childcare situation, like a Mother’s Day Out, and I want Caroline to have fun time with other kids rather than sitting at home with a babysitter, this option works really well.

Four neighbors and I, all with kids between 13 months and 19 months, switch off sitting every Tuesday afternoon. Two moms are “on” each week while three are “off.” We chose one house as the host home, and we bring the kids there after naps, around 2:30. With five moms, we rotate so that you’re “on” one week, and then off for one or two weeks. We plan a few months in advance so we can book doctor or hair appointments during those times. It’s a great chance to get lots of errands taken care of. We’ve all been amazed at how much we can get done in 2 1/2 hours when we aren’t getting a toddler in and out of the car sear, in and out of the shop, etc.

We have a binder that travels each week that has a sheet for each of our “precious ones.” It has the parents’ contact information — mom’s cell, dad’s number at work, home number, the child’s birthday, allergy information (my sweet child is the only one with allergies so far but others have foods they are avoiding), and any other things we need to know about the kids.

We started with five moms, then lost one because her son was having some separation anxiety, but we found another interested neighbor and are back at five. Discipline hasn’t been an issue, really, but may be something we’ll have to discuss in the future. I know some of the other moms use “time-outs” which I’m not planning to use with Caroline. We have given toys time-outs, though, which is fine with me and has worked with two 19-month olds are intent on dominating the toy vacuum cleaner (or whatever.)

I was reluctant to leave my daughter at all, but after having a few Tuesday afternoons to myself, I have fallen in love with the BABYSITTER’S CLUB (and the mommas and kiddos I’m working with.)

The Boob Tube

For the next five months, the television in my living room will remain either unplugged or set on dvd mode so that a blank screen appears when it is turned on. I have decided to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children under the age of two watch no television. Unfortunately, some tv-viewing over the holidays has brought out a little TV addict in my darling daughter.

I am proud that the half a dozen Baby Einstein videos I was given as baby gifts remained unopened until Caroline was 18 months old. I traveled with my dad to OKC to see my sister and took advantage of his in-vehicle dvd player to entertain Caroline on the drive. One movie would end and she would sign for “more.” She was hooked! She was given a Rudolf dvd for Christmas, so we let her watch that on Christmas Eve, and a few other times in the past weeks I turned the TV on for a minute for various reasons. Caroline has been able to turn the TV on and off for quite some time, and that is just what she would do. Turn it on. Turn it off. Turn it on. Turn it off. She wasn’t watching anything. Lately, though, several times she has turned on the TV, crawled onto the couch, and sat staring. She even did this with a house full of kids the other day. Not OK!!

I have several reasons for postponing television viewing. I don’t want her exposed to the commercialism and over-consumption portayed on commercials and in shows. I would rather have her actively involved in something *real* rather than observing something *false.* And there are numerous studies that point to detrimental effects of early television watching — increases in autism and obesity, shortened attention spans — even if there is no definitive evidence. I watched a few minutes of Sesame Street the other day. I did not grow up watching Sesame Street, but my husband has fond memories of it. I was repulsed by Elmo’s baby talk and the Cookie Monster’s atrocious grammar. This is *educational programming*? I have an on-line acquaintance who used to work in educational television programming who admits that they consciously put in the minimum amount of educational content allowed to be able to call a program “educational.”

Still, I do see the merits of educational programming for preschoolers and school-aged children. I see some of the concepts my niece has mastered from these shows. Caroline is still far from a preschooler, though, so for now, her time is best spent helping mommy, playing with friends, reading books, and dancing.

My singing

I love to sing! I love a good night of karaoke fun and change the radio station if I don’t know the song since I can’t sing along then. Problem is, some say, I’m not a good singer. Of course,I disagree. Singing is not all about tone, you know. There is something to be said for rhythm and personality, which I have. I am delighted that my darling daughter loves my singing. I sometimes sing to her as we nurse. When I finish a song, she pulls her arms around to clap for me and then signs for more while flashing me a smile.

Just one more reason to love this girl!