Sunday, August 30, 2009

My baby is going to daycare September 1st

I'm going to blog about this now because I don't want to think about it too much tomorrow. Tomorrow will be Tristan's last full day with me before he starts daycare. He will be in daycare 2 days a week for the month of September. If all goes well, we may increase that to 3 days a week the following month. I feel lucky we found a daycare for Tristan with such short notice. We couldn't get in the group care we signed up for 6 months ago. I think we are still number 50 or so on their wait list. Unfortunately, I just couldn't wait any longer.

The YMCA Child Care Resource & Referral sent me a list and I was able to find a vacancy at a family care at Brilliance Daycare. It is a 19 minute walk from our house and I had a good tour of the place a couple of weeks ago. The only downside at the moment is that the caregivers there do not speak English very well. They speak Mandarin and all the kids that go there are either Chinese or Korean. That may make it hard for them to tell me certain things about Tristan. Guess we'll see. That also means that Tristan will probably be learning a fourth language, Mandarin.

I am sad that I have to give him up part time because I can't care for him while I work at home. It has gotten to the point where it is almost impossible to do chores even while I let him roam around. We're baby-proofing our place now but there is only so much we can proof. There are hazards everywhere you look! We cannot contain him in his playpen too long without him protesting and keeping him away from people is not healthy either. Therefore, daycare will be as great for him as it will be for me. I am falling so behind in work and watching Tristan is so tiring these days. I thought I could do it all. Watch him full time and work part time. Sadly, I can't and now I have to send him off to daycare with strangers during the day (sniff, sniff). The first day in daycare when I drop him off is going to be a hard one for me, especially if he cries when I leave :( The longest Tristan has ever left us was for 2 hours and that was with a family member too. Can I do this? I'm having all sorts of fears about it. I'm dreading Tuesday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making baby food is loads of fun!

Those who know me, know that I love to cook. It is probably not a surprise that I make all my baby food for Tristan. Well, what I can make anyways. We do buy the cereal, cheese, and yogurt for him. We have not tried any of the store bought baby food from the jars yet and I don't think we need to.

Tristan started eating solids when he turned 6 months old. Fortunately for us, it was summer time and most of the fruits and vegetables were in season. Because babies start on simple foods and there is no seasoning whatsoever, making baby food is a snap. We have the Magic Bullet too and it works great for pureeing and mashing his food. We would cook more than enough and then what we can't consume in 2 days, we would freeze right away in baby cubes.

I love my baby cubes! I bought 1 set of the Stage 1 cubes and 2 sets of the Stage 2 cubes. They are microwaveable, dishwasher friendly, freezable etc. The Stage 1 cubes really don't fit much and would be only good for when the baby is really young. I also find that the Stage 1 cubes don't close as tightly as the Stage 2 cubes. A Stage 2 cube can be defrosted and used over 2 days in the fridge. I do that now. If you want to do just one feeding, then you could use an entire Stage 1 cube. Otherwise, I would suggest just buying Stage 2 cubes. They fit more and are better containers.

In the beginning, we were boiling our vegetables since it was simpler for us but now we are steaming and baking some as well. We have already fed Tristan a great variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and meat alternatives. Babies don't really have a preference to certain foods so this is our chance to introduce him to everything healthy. I've actually really enjoyed making food for him. Now, that he is 9 months old, I am mixing more of his food. For instance, I would mix black cod with zucchini, potato, and chicken broth. I would also serve baked butternut squash with a bit of formula milk so it is a bit sweet and creamy for him. Today, he had smooth tofu with carrots. They are all simple dishes but baby yummy! Whenever I can, I buy organic ingredients too. Since he doesn't eat much, we normally only have to buy one item and it would last him a long time.

The goal is to keep up feeding him baby food is mashed form or small chunks until he is 1 year old. I want to be more creative in the dishes that I make as well but I don't want to introduce any seasonings yet. Right now, I am actually using formula milk or breastmilk as my seasoning. Of course, I can't completely avoid seasonings and additives since I am feeding him things like cottage cheese and bread, which I buy from the store. Hopefully, when he is 1, we can feed him homo milk. There are a lot of other foods too that will be safe for him when he turns 1. That will be another exciting time :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Being sick as a parent of a baby

It has been nearly two weeks since I started not to feel well. Today, I am still coughing and blowing my nose. I have what the doctor would call a "wet" cough. My throat is sore still and I think it is because I have to constantly talk to or yell at Tristan all the time. I have the common cold. It is a complete mystery how I got it since I was home for 3 days straight when I started to feel under the weather. It is the first time I have been sick with a cold in almost a year and a half. Luckily, I don't get sick often but when I do, I get super duper sick!

Jean-Louis was on vacation last week. Thankfully, he was home with me to help out. I tried to stay away from everyone and I washed my hands after I coughed or blew my nose. I would also flush my tissue down the toilet and was careful not to contaminate anything. I drank like mad and peed like mad. I did everything I could to protect others. It was very hard to breastfeed Tristan. I stuff tissue up my nose to prevent it from dripping on him and I had lozenges nearby in case I had a cough attack. Breastfeeding was my only real contact with Tristan. I felt good knowing that I was passing on my antibodies over to him when I fed him. He has not fallen sick (yet).

What is worst than being sick and having to take care of a baby? Right now, that seems to be the worst. It makes you think about how fortunate you were back when you were the child and your parents were taking care of you. Or when you didn't have children and you could just sleep in and rest whenever you wanted to so that you could get better quick. Sadly, parents don't get sick time off :( We have no one here to help us either so we just have to manage to cope.

My sickness peaked over the past weekend. I lost my voice for 3 days and I coughed all night and couldn't sleep well. Tristan has actually been sleeping in his own room for the past 3 or 4 nights since we moved downstairs. I cough hard and it would most certainly wake him up. Feeling miserable, weak, and not being able to take proper care of myself really sucked. I wished I could have been on COLD FX since it usually works for me in 3 days but I couldn't because I was still nursing. Jean-Louis helped a lot but I couldn't just rest. I had to cook and help with the baby too. If you saw the way I cooked, you wouldn't have wanted to eat. I had to blow my nose every 10 minutes and coughed at everything in the kitchen. When my hands were too dirty to grab tissue I just let my nose run. Yeah, it was gross. Was that TMI? We had no food. I had to cook.

Jean-Louis went back to work this week. I'm just trying to survive the week alone. Unfortunately, I have been coughing near Tristan a lot. I sure hope he doesn't get sick. Jean-Louis on the other hand is starting to feel a bit under the weather :( I am feeling well enough to do a few more chores around the house now. Sorry but blogging feels a bit like a chore these days. I do want to squeeze in a nap before the baby wakes up though.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Development progress at 9 months

This month has been a busy month for Tristan. He crawls and stands up now. His new found skills made it hard for him to fall asleep on his own during nap time. That was certainly stressful for all of us. It's still a bit of an issue now. Sleep is like a roller coaster. There are days where he would just fall asleep within 3-5 minutes and then there are days where he would cat nap.

Now that he can move, he is always on the move. He opens doors if they are left crack open. He can turn pages on books. He loves to rip paper. He hates it when we tried to contain him in the exersaucer or jumperoo or play pen. He will only stay in those for maybe 5 minutes and then he will start fussing. It annoys the hell out of Jean-Louis because he has to watch him constantly. He's like "why don't you just sit still for a change?" If I were a baby, I would be crawling and touching everything too. He is curious and he finally has the ability to explore the world.

We find ourselves using the word and baby sign "NO" a lot these days. We're trying to teach Tristan what is off limits but I read it is bad to use "NO" all the time because babies will not take it seriously. "NO" should be reserved for just the extreme cases. Ah, there are just too many rules. We probably shouldn't yell either but we are beginning to do that too. It's hard not to do these things because it comes natural to us in these circumstances. On a related note, Jean-Louis is starting to swear more and I always tell him not to and that he should get in the habit of avoiding it now. We don't want Tristan's first word to be a "bad" word!

I'm still breastfeeding 3 times a day and Tristan eats 3 times a day. We have introduced finger foods like bread, cheese, and bananas to him and he is getting very good at eating on his own. We no longer introduce new foods for 3 days at a time, unless it is something we believe he may be allergic to. If we already introduced something in the squash family, all other new squashes are probably okay so we don't bother with the 3 day rule. Neither of us have allergies to foods and we eat everything so chances are Tristan should be okay too. Tristan only drinks water and breastmilk. During his meals, we like to cover all the food groups. We try not to feed him too much bread or things which have all sorts of added flavor. Basically, we are trying to make his diet as healthy as possible. We're also feeding him more chunky food so that he learns to eat that instead of relying on us to puree all his food. He has 2 bottom teeth now so maybe he can use them when he eats :)

Tristan can't speak yet. He can't even say "dada" or "mama." He grunts a lot, squeals, and laughs with his mouth open and head arched backwards :) Jean-Louis thinks that Tristan might have signed the word "milk" last night but it is hard to say. It is similar to the action of grabbing food on his tray so maybe he was just trying to do that. Again, hard to say. I'm looking forward to the day he says "mama" :) I was actually worried that he grunted too much but apparently, the grunting is normal.

Finally, I should mention that Tristan cries when most strangers hold him. At least with the people he is not familiar with. We went to Victoria this week and he cried whenever my mom or dad held him. He was still doing it a bit when we left too. He did get a chance to bond with them a little. My mom can finally make Tristan smile so that was nice to see. It was a relief really because she was working very hard at entertaining and then boom! A smile :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tristan is 9 months old

This 9 month milestone will unfortunately be remembered as the one where I had a very bad cold. Sadly, I don't want cake or chocolate or anything that is not soup. We just got back from Victoria and have no food at home so we're just going to bed hungry. In my case, hungry and sick. I can't even take my syrup because I get killer stomach aches on an empty stomach.

Tomorrow, I will talk about Tristan's progress at 9 months of age.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Twitter CEO's wife Sara used the Contraction Tracker

Today, we are excited to find out that Sara, Twitter CEO Evan's wife, used our iPhone app to time and track her labor contractions. She went into labor yesterday and tweeted "The Contraction Tracker was fun until the contractions got painful." It's not the first time someone has tweeted during their labor but these guys are the founders of Twitter so the entire Twitterverse was listening. I store a search on "contraction tracker," in case we get feedback from users on Twitter and it was loaded with updates this morning. Wow! I also noticed news articles popping up talking about it too. Very cool.

If you ever want visibility for your app, have someone of importance use it and then tweet or blog about it. So lucky to have it happen for us. She chose us over the dozen or so contraction apps in the App Store. We must be doing something right :)

Hope Sara is doing well. I feel for her. Her water broke first, just like mine did. I hear that contractions come harder and is more painful when that happens. I had horrible contractions every 3-5 minutes from the start and it lasted nearly 12 hours. So glad I'm not there anymore!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Isolation and insanity during maternity and parental leave

Recently, I read a couple of stories on maternity leave experiences and that made me want to write my own. I have actually used this blog to document my experience throughout the leave, which I am still on right now. Soon, the EI benefits will run out and I will have to get Tristan into daycare and me back to working more. What was initially planned to be just a 3 month leave is turning out to be almost a year. Well, it was never really supposed to be a full leave since I thought I could take care of the baby full time while working part time half time. That didn't turn out to be the case.

In summary, I stayed home a lot, mostly because it was simple to do and it allowed me to squeeze in a bit of work here and there. I do contract work for someone for maybe 5-7 hours a week and I work for myself. Work is in many ways my escape from "baby land." I also needed to keep up with the current events and not have my leave affect my career too much. In the early months, there were days where I would not even leave the house for 8 days straight! These days, I do get out for fresh air every 2-3 days with the baby.

The feeling of isolation is a real one, even for someone like me who usually keeps to myself and works from home. The only time we get a visitor is when we send out an invitation. I understand that our friends don't want to inconvenience us but it has been over 8 months now and I sort of wished that more people would visit or ask us out. It sort of makes you think that your friends no longer want to hang out with you as much because you have a baby. They probably assume we are too busy but the reality is we are longing for company and socializing.

I use my blog here to vent my frustrations and I do believe I have become somewhat insane. Staying at home, playing with the same toys, moving about the same rooms, changing diapers, breastfeeding etc. the whole daily routine got to me and at times, I did feel a bit nauseous and my heart would beat irregularly. On those days, I really didn't like my life much. I started to understand why other moms went to parent groups and joined play groups. One of my friends does this a lot and claims that she has to in order to avoid going insane. She says staying home with the kids and not going out tends to make her angry. I don't really have the luxury of doing this because I want to work and I guess because I'm complicated. I don't feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, I'm paranoid that either the baby or myself will contract germs and get sick, and I get cold hives easily. So I'm stuck and I continue to stay at home.

My leave from full time work has been nice though. It gave me the opportunity to immerse myself into motherhood and I got to see my baby grow and develop. Babies grow so fast, especially in the first 6 months. I am thankful for having that opportunity. However, now I'm a bit worried about how my career has been affected. I haven't contacted my former employer about returning to work yet. I need to do that as soon as I find daycare for my little guy. I know that the company went through a lot of internal changes since I have been gone though. Whether or not they may still need me or could provide work for me in the next few months is unclear.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Progress on standing and sleeping

Tristan is more or less back to his old sleeping routine. It was a frustrating week since he would constantly stand or sit in his crib. For some time, he was visibly scared to let go after standing up and holding onto the bars. That was last week. This week we gave him plenty of practice getting up and down on his own on various objects in the house. He bumped himself a few times here and there and is still healing from a bruise on his cheek. It is hard to let him hurt himself but we are trying our best to be less protective of him in order for him to progress in his motor skills.

Because he is able to confidently get back down and lie down, he can put himself to sleep again. We don't have to worry as much either since he doesn't fall as much or slam his face on the bars of the crib. Now when he is awake though, he is always standing up holding the bars and crying :)

We aren't in the clear yet since it still takes him a bit longer to sleep now and some times we still find ourselves aborting the nap altogether. We had to do that this morning actually. We tried putting him down again for his nap an hour later and by this time he was super tired and fell asleep within 2 minutes. Yeah, getting a baby to sleep, even a trained sleeper, is difficult. Luckily, things are looking brighter and I actually never had to give Tristan Tylenol. I kept resisting and now I don't think we need it. His second tooth is still coming out and he uses this teeth a bit to bite food. I noticed that yesterday when I gave him some of my watermelon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New developmental changes leads to sleeping problems

Since Tristan has learned to crawl and stand up last week, it has been a struggle to get him to lie down and go to sleep. He cries more and does not sleep as long anymore. As a result, he is a cranky baby most of the day. For the first time in at least 2 months, he woke up at 4:30AM last night and would not sleep again. We had to throw everything at him, including nursing, just so he would sleep another 30 minutes to a hour. All the sleep problems are compounded by the fact that he is teething too of course. Maybe I will give in and just give him some Tylenol. I'm starting to lose my patience :(

We're going to have to start to sleep train him again and let him cry even more, even if he stands while doing it. I'm so not looking forward to it. We already let him cry but not until he passes out. We usually abort after around 30 minutes of crying. In the past, it would normally just take him 2-3 minutes to fall asleep on his own. I'm stressing out because he is very clingy when he is tired. When will this phase pass?
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