Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Too much work and baby leads to insanity

These days I feel like I'm going nuts. I'm not sure what made me think I could do it all and be a super mom. I was told and read in many places that I was only setting myself up for failure if I attempt to do so much. No matter how much I was told I couldn't do it, I still wanted to try and now I'm starting to go insane. Day by day, the work and stress piles up. I'm also sleep deprived again because Tristan is having a hard time sleeping.

Last evening, I wanted 10 minutes alone to do something on the computer. During those 10 minutes, Tristan was crying at the top of his lungs downstairs with Jean-Louis. That stressed me out and I tried to do a few things but kind of messed things up so now I have to start over again. Having time to work is one thing but actually being productive is another. This past weekend, I actually spend a fair amount of time working but couldn't solve the problem I had for days. That just sucks.

Tristan can't really be with Jean-Louis at night because he is too fussy. The best time would be for me to try and work once Jean-Louis gets home from work since Tristan is happier then. Unfortunately, that doesn't work either because that is when I have to cook or get dinner ready. Jean-Louis can't really help in that department. In fact, I'm feeling a lot like a single parent these days since I'm doing most of the things at home. Jean-Louis tries to help where he can but unfortunately he can't do well in many areas. For instance, he can't even clip his own nails properly so I'm not going to dare let him try to clip Tristan's nails. I showed him how to use the nasal aspirator but it's tricky since Tristan moves a lot and he can easily be hurt. So, I think I'll just take care of that. Giving the vitamin D - me too since only half of it ends up in Tristan's mouth when Jean-Louis does it. Jean-Louis is giving more baths though, but with my assistance. It's not Jean-Louis' fault that he can't do these things. Some people are just much much better at it than others. In our case, he can't do it and I have to. If he was hired, I would have fired him long ago :)

In the evening, Daddy seems to turn into the Boogie Monster or something. Tristan is just terrified of Daddy. I went downstairs last evening to calm him down. He was shaking and his face was all wet. After he was calm, I tried to pass him over to Daddy who was sitting next to us the whole time. Nope. He started to freak out again. In fact, at some point, he was freaking out in my lap when Daddy only tried to touch him. Wow! So, maybe it's useless for me to try and work at night. If I can get work done, great. It's not this bad every day so we'll just see.

It sounds bad but things aren't all bad these days. When he is happy, Tristan is playful and smiley. He laughs more now. The past 2 weeks, he has just been very fascinated with his feet. He put his feet in his mouth a couple of times so far. I hear it's just a phase. He's not spitting up much anymore but he also doesn't feed often. It's much easier to take him out since he can go without food for 4-5 hours. It's a good thing because staying home and being frustrated with work and baby is driving me a little nuts. I'm actually starting to feel a bit nauseous from it all. I need to get out a bit.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bad design leads us to blame ourselves or others for errors

You might be wondering a bit about the title of this blog post. What is this doing on a mommy blog? It's probably more suitable for a design blog. I was inspired to write this post because of a comment I received when I wrote the post about our car seat drama at the mall. A visitor thought I was a bit harsh when I called Daddy a dummy for attaching and jamming the car seat adapter on the wrong side of the car seat. I can see how I may have sounded a bit harsh. Obviously, I was mad when it happened and when I sat down to blog about it, I didn't think I overreacted at the time. I didn't want to appear as though I was yelling at Daddy too much so I did have him read it. He approved it and it got published. Note, I'm hoping Tristan will want to read this blog one day too so I do have to be careful of what I write.

In the car seat drama post, I concluded by explaining what went wrong. Ok, Daddy is not a dummy. Mommy was just upset. It could have happened to anyone. This is a good example of us blaming ourselves when it should be the design at fault. The design should not have allowed the mistake to occur in the first place. Because the car seat adapters looked identical, they should have been built in such a way that it should not be possible to insert them in if they were inserted incorrectly. In other words, there should have been resistance when we tried to insert them in the wrong side. When asked at the time, Daddy claimed that there was no noticeable resistance and everything did look correct at first glance. An example we can relate to is the old fashion floppy disk. The floppy disk was designed in a way that it had to be in only one orientation to fit into the disk drive.

I'm surprised at the design flaw since the Bugaboo Frog stroller and Maxi Cosi system is a high-end product. The people that designed the car seat adapters tried to prevent this error from occurring by indicating an L and an R on the otherwise identical looking adapters. The letters were barely visible. That was their first potential mistake. That wasn't the problem for us though. We mistakenly applied the L and R to the stroller instead of the car seat. There wasn't enough resistance to inform us that we were inserting the adapter in the wrong side of the car seat. That was the second problem. Then once the mistake occurred, we couldn't easily undo. That was the third problem. Three of us tried very hard but apparently we needed someone with lots of muscle :)

It's possible that if the Bugaboo travel system we bought was designed and manufactured by the same people, this design flaw may not have been present. We had to buy all 3 separately: stroller, car seat adapters, and car seat. I can see others making the same mistake, which is why I wanted to blog about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tristan is 5 months old

There goes another month. After Daddy gets home from work, we're all going to trek up to Save-Ons to pick out our cake to celebrate surviving another month of baby land and parenthood.

We recently bought Tristan lots of clothes from Gymboree. We actually don't have a lot of 6 month size clothes and lately we need to change him twice every day due to poopy accidents. There were lots of great deals still so we didn't actually spend a lot of money. Nothing fancy. Just your every day wear. Initially, when Tristan arrived, we received lots of clothes as gifts. However, like all babies, he grew fast and many of the sizes we received are now either very small (less than 3 months) or too big (more than 6 months). I don't mind buying clothes for him since I love shopping for baby clothes. I don't feel guilty about it since it's not for me and it's so cute and fun.

In terms of development, Tristan can sort of sit up unsupported. He sits fine straight but once he turns to look at something, he slowly falls over. He rolls over from belly to back but not all the time. He moves a lot so it's more difficult to diaper and change his clothes now. He's getting a lot smarter and is so curious of everything. If you talk, he will just stare at you and watch you. He's interested in what I do every day. I call him my little spy :)

It's so much easier to take Tristan out now. He doesn't cry much any more and seems to like car rides. He barely cries in his car seat too! Sometimes we are out for several hours and he's so good. This past Sunday, we took Tristan downtown Vancouver for the first time. We decided to skytrain down at the last minute since we were running late. We had plans to visit my friend downtown and eat at his place. In fact, we were out a lot both days this past weekend. Tristan and I are not used to it and frankly, I'm pooped. I'm glad this week is a stay at home week. We need to recuperate and refuel for the next weekend :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Save-On Foods baby program

If you are expecting, know someone who is, or just had a baby, go and join the Save-On Foods baby program. We just received some coupons from them the other day. Coupons are good for a year and some are not even baby related. For examples, we have one for Western Family raisin bread for $1.49, first 2. They are normally $2.99 I think. Daddy is going to like that one :)

To join the baby program, go in the store to get a form, fill it out, and in case they ask for it, bring your baby bracelet from the hospital or birth certificate and you'll receive their baby bag. We didn't have to show anything; the form was enough. The bag contained sample baby products such as diaper rash cream, wet wipes, disposable nursing pads, wash/lotion, and Potty training dvd. There was also 1 newborn diaper that was good for up to 9 lbs. All this is free so if you shop from Save-Ons, go out and get it!

Already tired of being a stay at home mom

It's the same old thing over and over again but now, Tristan is more difficult. I'm tired of the same old routine in the house and tired of seeing the same toys and playing. I'm frustrated I can't get more work done and these days, I have to hold Tristan in my lap with a toy if I want to work more. He freaks out when I'm out of sight, even when I appear soon after or if I continue to talk to him while I'm in another room. He wants to be held a lot more too. Argg! It has been almost 5 months and I'm going a little nuts these days. I went from fast-pace crazy busy and getting lots done to this slow-pace, boring routine, just watching the clock waiting for Daddy to get home. Am I alone here?

I need to get out more. When I go out, like when I went for a walk and coffee with a friend the other day, the day went zooming by. That was nice. It was nice to socialize in person with the outside world too. Ok, now I must sound like a freak. I need to invite over more visitors too on days I stay home. Tristan is easier to take out now so I really should take him out more. When I do go out, I don't get much work done though and right now, work is quite important. I know, I'm a bit complicated :)

After the iPhone app is released and the website is done, I have to seriously look into daycare and babysitting for Tristan. I need a break from him so I can do other things like work and exercise. I think we both need to get away from each other :)

We have weekend plans that involve going out! This weekend and the next :) One day will be dedicated to working and chores and the other will be a fun day. If only weekends were longer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Paid family leave with pay non-existent for most in BC

Lately, I have been asking Jean-Louis whether or not his work has any kind of family leave policy, in case he is needed at home. If I'm sick and unable to care for Tristan, I would feel better if he could stay home. Apparently, he can but they will be unpaid days. There is legislation stating this for BC.

British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act stipulates that "An employee is entitled to up to 5 days of unpaid leave each year, to meet responsibilities related to the care, health, or education of a child in the employee’s care or the care or health of any other member of the employee’s immediate family." (s. 52) Notice that this provision, in contrast to Quebec’s legislation, includes both responsibilities for a child and care for immediate family members1.

Apparently, paid family leave is a hot topic, in the US too. It's kind of crazy really that this doesn't exist for families with pay from all employers. Things are different these days with parents getting much less help from their families. None of our families live near us and we don't have very close friends to turn to. I guess in the event we really need help, I would have to hire a babysitter at the last minute. There must be an emergency babysitter directory somewhere for on call purposes. Is there?

Family leave should be like sick leave, with pay. This should be the case, at least for parents with children under 3. Small children get sick often and parents have to deal with so many extra expenses as is. It would just be a perk for being a parent. Shouldn't we be encouraging people to have more children? There certainly are many reasons for not having children these days that we just don't need another. I say, help the parents as much as possible!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Marital quality diminishes over time or with children

A study was conducted and it's not surprising to find that marital quality diminishes over time. "Having a baby accelerates this deterioration." Parents are more depressed than non-parents.

I have to agree to some point. It's a very good thing Jean-Louis and I got to enjoy a childless marriage for many years, 7 to be exact. We got to enjoy living with each other, traveling, running, supporting each other in our education and careers, and in the process, our relationship got stronger and we matured. Being parents in our 30s would have been considered late in our parent's generation but these days, it is quite the norm. We are more financially stable and we both have established careers we enjoy (most of the time). Having a child at this time lowers the chances of us resenting our child and regretting having done things we never got to do. Of course, we could have done more but we have done a lot more than most couples have before they start having children. We can't really complain. I'm glad it happened this way but it wasn't exactly planned to be honest.

For those thinking about having children right away after marriage, my advice would be to enjoy marriage first. Enjoy each other. Children could wait a year or two. Your kids will leave home one day but you will grow old with your spouse.

Tristan has made life very stressful for us. We don't even have time to think about our relationship these days but that's okay. One thing the article mentions is that past generations received a lot more help at home when the baby arrives. That partly explains why our parents and grandparents were able to have so many kids. Help would definitely make a difference. Jean-Louis and I have been at this all by ourselves. My parents stayed with us the first 2 days we left the hospital but that has been all the help we have received with Tristan. In the beginning, we were both kind of scared being at the hospital and given a newborn to care for and then at home without the presence of nurses around. But we managed and we survived. I think it's amazing really. This is partly why I tell Jean-Louis that we deserve to celebrate every month on the day that Tristan arrived.

Alone time without Tristan would be nice. Maybe when Tristan is 6 months old, we'll hire a babysitter once in awhile to watch him so we could go out alone. A formal dinner out would be nice. Maybe a movie too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dressing your baby and staying at home... what's wrong with that?

Apparently, Halle Berry is a shopaholic when it comes to baby clothes. She shops online and buys more than what her 1 year old daughter can wear. Her boyfriend, Gabriel, tells her to stop since the baby doesn't even go outside. I actually do the same with Tristan. I change him out of his PJs and put him in his day clothes every day. What's wrong with that? I like to put nice things on him and it's important that they match too. Again, what's wrong with that?

Don't worry. The weather is improving so I'll start to take Tristan out for daily walks. I need to get out myself. I'm getting a bit sick of the same old thing at home. We spend most of the day in the office, living room, or bathroom. We play with the same toys and go through the same baby routines - it's starting to drive me crazy. How do stay-at-home moms bare it? At first, it was new and exciting, but now it feels a little old. I think it's also because Tristan's growth and development is slowing down.

I look forward to every Friday. Daddy is home for the weekend so I get a bit of a break. We normally go out to the mall or go for a walk so it's fresh air for all of us. Today, is the start of the weekend. Daddy will come home and be home for several days because of the Easter long weekend. It's Good Friday tomorrow and he's taking Monday off to work on our iPhone app. I'm hoping to work myself because once again, this week has gone by with very little work done. It won't be all work since my family will be coming over from Victoria. My parents will see Tristan again only for the third time.

Baby spit up caught in action! Oops.

Since I tweeted about it, I might as well include it here in the blog too. When it comes to babies and photos, you just snap, snap, and hope for the best. This is sort of why we have hundreds of photos. There are lots of great shots but there are plenty of bad ones too. Some funny, some not. Babies grow so fast and change so much so why not? We must have captured Tristan with every facial expression and when he wears a new outfit, we bring out the camera again. We're new parents - is it obvious???

This morning, I was able to capture this shot and didn't even realize it. I uploaded them right away in iPhoto and was shocked to see it in there. I was also pleased and had to show someone :) Then I Twitpic-ed it (eeks!).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Car seat drama thanks to Daddy dummy

Today, we went to Metrotown to shop. Since it was during Tristan's nap time, we decided to bring the car seat adapter for our Bugaboo stroller so that we could move the car seat directly onto it without disturbing Tristan. Jean-Louis had tested all this out and practiced operating the car seat/stroller system back in November when we bought everything. It's the first time we are using it now. We normally just use the baby carrier since it's faster and easier to move around the shops but it was filthy.

The drama started when we exited the car in the parking lot and Daddy tried to assemble everything together, while Tristan was still sleeping in it. When everything was attached, it just didn't look right. Tristan's head was dipped down and his feet was sticking up. Here was where we then tried to detach everything and try it again. We figured the car seat adapters had to be reversed. Oops. Daddy jammed them in and now they couldn't be removed. Crap. We took Tristan out of the car seat and decided to move everything inside the mall and try to figure it out. While I was holding Tristan, Daddy tried with all his might to pull off the adapters. Cursing, swearing, sweating. It was no use. I handed Tristan over and tried since I was stronger. It was sure stuck and I was afraid to crack and break the adapter. After all, those darn adapters did cost $60!

Since we were so close to Babies R Us, I suggested that we go there since the sales people there are experts when it comes to operating strollers. Too busy. No good. I then suggested we go to Sears since I wanted to go there anyway and we did buy our Maxi Cosi car seat there. It wasn't that busy and we immediately got help when we requested for it. The sales lady told us it was jammed. Damn it. If we can't even remove the adapters, we can't put Tristan back in the car. We were already thinking about taking the skytrain home with him in the baby carrier. Thanks Daddy for ruining all of our Sunday plans! How could you be so dumb?

Now we were feeling desperate. We decided it was okay if the adapter were broken as long as the car seat was okay and we could go home. The Sears sales lady said that she could try and find one of the guys in Shipping to use a tool to remove it but that the adapters may break in the process. Ok, fine. If that is what it will take, fine. We've learned our lesson. Daddy learned his lesson.

10 minutes later, the lady came back, adapters and car seat separated and unharmed in her hands. I was so happy! The next 10 minutes, we tried to assemble everything together again very carefully. It worked and we put Tristan back in the seat.

What was the problem? Well, the adapters have a R and L on them to indicate which should go on the right or left. Jean-Louis placed them on the right and left side of the stroller but the problem is there is no right or left side on the bugaboo stroller. The handle on the stroller can be reversed so each side is a right and a left. The R and L in this case refers to the placement on the car seat. Oops. Warning to all Bugaboo stroller owners with a Maxi Cosi car seat or any car seat that requires a separate car seat adapter: the R and L on the adapters are for the car seat so put them on the car seat first. If you are unsure, look at the way the car seat sits before clipping them in. The car seat should be upright. Ok, lesson learned.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sleep deprived and unproductive work week

Ups and downs. There will be a good day then a bad day, a good week and then a bad week. C'est la vie.

This past week, I feel especially guilty since I only logged 2.5 hours of billable work and I should be doing at minimum 6. I will try to log another 2 hours this weekend to make up for it. How did this happen? Well, Tristan was having trouble sleeping (he still is). He wasn't sleeping well at night and then it was hard to put him down for his naps too. I was so tired I actually had to take a few naps with him this week. It is usually during his nap time that I can get work done.

The week wasn't a complete disaster. I did get a bit of other work done for myself. I reviewed the current version of our app and started a new revision list. The app is getting better and better but it's just not ready for a release yet. It's a good thing Jean-Louis and I both have an iPod Touch because some functions would work on his but not on mine. It turned out that some of our settings with the date and time screwed things up. We would have never discovered the bugs otherwise.

I started actively tweeting this week on Twitter. Tweeting and reading tweets suck up your time. I some times wonder why I'm adding more work to my daily schedule when I don't have time to spare. I first heard about Twitter over a year ago but never had the interest to join. Now since it's such a big phenomena on the web, I have to join. It's part of my job as an Information Architect and Web Designer to stay current with all the online activities going on. These days, social networking and social media is a huge deal. It's hard to keep up really.

Since Jean-Louis and I are now involved with iPhone Development, I have to immersed myself in the UI Design for the iPhone too and check out as many apps as possible. Apps for tweeting, blogging, and social networking are very popular and is talked about a lot in the news. Some of us are addicted to sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and spend countless hours blogging for fun. It's somewhat fun, I agree, but I do it largely for discovery and research.

Jean-Louis is addicted to Twitter. Oh boy! Poor Tristan is destined to be just like his parents too - a geek. Tristan spends a lot of his day staring at either Mommy's or Daddy's computer or iPod Touch. Oh well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Clear stuffy noses with the nasal aspirator

We have the heat on everywhere in our house. It has been like that since Tristan arrived in November. This winter was a cold one and it's still cold now, if you ask me. I just paid our water and heating bill from BC Hydro today and it is twice as much as it normally is. We're usually quite cheap when it comes to heating but with Tristan, we just have to. With the heat on all the time and Tristan and I at home every day, the air is very dry. Our noses get stuffy as a result and I have been using store bought saline drops to help him breathe better. Initially, I tried making my own saline drops but then it was a hassle since we were never sure if it was really sanitary for repeat usage and then storing it in the fridge made it cold. We decided to just buy some. A small 30 ml bottle costs around $6. I have been using it for a month or so and there's still some left. I find myself having to use it every 2-3 days and I normally use 2-3 drops in each nostril.

When Tristan was just a month or 2 old, we couldn't use the nasal aspirator or bulb syringe. His nostril was just not big enough and I didn't want to hurt him. I had to use a rolled up piece of kleenex and that worked quite well. Sometimes I even used a Q-tip (eeks!) but I only attempted that when his booger was within reach. Lately, I have been using the nasal aspirator and today it worked great. I had to squeeze it a few times and then finally, it all came out - yes! I was so pleased :) Of course, Tristan always freaks out when I try cleaning his nose. I feel so bad but I simply have to ignore the crying and focus on the task. Hopefully, I won't need to do this much longer. I wonder if we should invest in a humidifier machine. I'm thinking it should get better though. It's Spring but where is the spring weather? It snowed a bit today for crying out loud.

@mommyingaround is on Twitter

That's right. I officially joined so that I can post real time updates to my blog. If you look to the right side, you will now find a block called "Twitter Updates." This is the Twitter badge I've added to the blog so those that read my blog regularly can find updates of what I'm doing right there. For those that don't read my blog and simply want to follow me, I'm @mommyingaround on Twitter. Now, I promise not to tweet much about poos, pees, spitting up milk etc., especially since @CocoaGeek objects. But please, this is a mommy blog so I can mention these things once in awhile. What do you think happens everyday to a stay-at-home mom anyways? The question of "what am I doing right now" is often answered with feeding, diaper changing, poopy accidents etc. But yes, I understand Twitter and I will tweet about things that are interesting and ask good questions. Don't worry Daddy!

With this new addition, the right side of the blog is beginning to look a bit cluttered. I've decided to remove the poll I posted a long time ago of "WHO DOES TRISTAN LOOK MORE LIKE?" Nine people voted and the results were the following:
  • Mommy, Susan: 5 (55%)
  • Daddy, Jean-Louis: 3 (33%)
  • Neither (Whose kid is this?): 1 (11%)
A couple of people did mention that the photo of Tristan I posted was not a fair one so I did change it a couple of times. I tried my best to pick one that had a neutral expression. Anyway, the general consensus is that Tristan has my eyes and the rest is Jean-Louis. I think Tristan has my cauliflower ears too (unfortunately). I don't have any baby pictures of myself to do a comparison but when we look at Jean-Louis' baby pictures, Tristan does look a lot like him. They have the exact same hair and Daddy sort of had beady eyes as a baby too :)
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