Monday, September 28, 2009

Baby is experiencing his first cold

Tristan had a few questionable moments in the past, even a confirmed fever once. This time, it is definitely a cold. His nose started to run on the weekend and now he has a cough too. Poor thing.

This is Tristan's first cold. Today, I made him some baby get better food. It was basically a soup of water, rice, zucchini, tofu, some garlic and ginger. I threw away the bits of ginger but the flavor is all over the soup. Ginger and garlic are awesome ingredients for fighting sickness! He seemed to like it too. It is much more exotic than what he is used to :) I'm planning to feed him this for the next couple of days.

So far, his behavior is more or less the same. His nose is constantly clogged so I'm having to use the aspirator on him several times a day. And no, he doesn't cooperate! Like it or not, it has to be done. I'm not risking him getting an ear infection and I want him to sleep and feed better. On top of that we're dressing him warmer and feeding him baby Tylenol. Having just come of a cold myself recently, I totally feel his misery.

Baby is sick and both Jean-Louis and I could catch his sickness too so we're taking precautions. I told Jean-Louis no kissing the baby, unless it's on the head. I'm drinking tons of fluids and plan to stay indoors the next few days. Won't be a problem since we're not going to daycare anymore. In fact, I had to call daycare and cancel his last day tomorrow. Sadly, I could have used another day of work.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tristan got the boot at daycare :(

When I picked Tristan up today, I was informed that he could no longer go back after this month. Apparently, he is too much work compared to the other kids. They said he was too young and cannot play with the other kids and is very clingy to one of the staff members there. I had noted to Jean-Louis before that every time I dropped him off or picked him up, the lady there was always holding him. I wanted to say something before because I don't want Tristan to get used to being held all the time. I did express my concern about that on the first day when I went through my printout with them.

I am annoyed because this was never brought to my attention before today. I was under the impression that all is well, especially because the lady there keeps telling me that Tristan is good and that he doesn't cry much. The truth is she holds him a lot. She tells me now that she has to hold him all the time or he will cry. I asked her if she tried just letting him play on his own but she says he cries. I told her that we don't hold him much at home and that he can play on his own. How long has this been going on at daycare I wonder. I know lately, it has been more and more difficult dealing with Tristan. Feeding is hard and he keeps turning around during diaper changes.

Tristan is only at daycare 2 days a week but apparently that is too much and they can't handle it. They have been looking for 1 more person to help out but haven't found anyone yet. With just 2 people at the moment, it's too much to take care of 6 or 7 kids. Obviously, Tristan would get axed since he is the biggest burden. The lady basically told me to bring him back in 6 months or a year. So here is the current fact: Brillance Daycare does not accept kids under the age of about 2 years even though they claim to care for kids from birth to 12 years. I should have known something was up when they showed me the bassinet Tristan could sleep in. Our guess is that they have little or no experience caring for children under the age of about 2 years.

I do understand that they are in a bad situation. I appreciate them telling me the truth. I just wished they could have given me the heads up when they first sensed there could have been a problem. I could have tried to work with them to resolve it but now it's too late. Tristan is getting kicked out and with just 8 days left to the month, there is no way we'll have daycare for October. It's a good thing I work from home and can be flexible or we would be doom!

Here are the lessons I have learned from this experience:
  1. When considering family care over group care, specifically ask about the daycare's experience with very small children under the age of 2. Normally, licensed family care accepts children from birth to 12 years but as I have learned here, the daycare may not have much experience with kids of every age.
  2. Communication is important. When everything goes well it's not a big deal. When things come up, the daycare really needs to talk to the parents. In my case, we didn't talk much because there was a language barrier. They mainly speak Mandarin and their English is ok.
What now? Well, I have no choice but to stay home with Tristan for the month of October. I will continue to look for daycare next month. I will call back one of the daycares I am wait-listed for and see where I am now. Last time I checked a month or so ago, I was #54. In the meantime, I will attempt to do most of my work on the weekend so that Jean-Louis can watch Tristan. I will make more effort to squeeze in work wherever I can during the weekdays.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tristan is 10 months old

Another month has gone by and this time, we get to enjoy cake :) Actually, we enjoyed cake last month too but it was just delayed due to my cold. Boy, has the last month been a rocky one for us! Daycare, feeding frustrations, crawling everywhere, touching everything... aaaaaahh!

First off, daycare is still going pretty well. Tristan cried for the first time in daycare right after I dropped him off last Thursday. It could have been due to a couple of things. The night before, I had a friend of mine babysit Tristan while I took my shower and it didn't go so well. He pretty much cried the whole time that evening. After that incident, maybe Tristan was scared of me leaving him with anyone. Or it could be that when I dropped him off at daycare there was another crying baby there and Tristan was a bit scared. Anyway, he cried and I left quickly so that it wouldn't get worst. Surprisingly, his crying didn't affect me too much. It was his third week in daycare and I was getting used to leaving him there.

For the past week and a bit, feeding has been a challenge for us. Tristan has no problem eating his cereal and fruit for breakfast. He has no problem with eating any fruit, cheese, or bread. The problem is when we spoon feed him his lunch or dinner, which consists of some kind of vegetable, meat, or meat alternative. I find that simpler foods with just 2 ingredients or 1 ingredient works better. Things that are not as chunky works better. An ingredient that is slightly on the sweeter side such as carrot works better. Using my fingers to feed him rather than a spoon some times work better. Distracting him with a toy some times work too. At times, we had to use trickery and some times force to feed him and we know it is bad. Now, we have agreed not to use force because we don't want him to be scared and to develop a bad association with eating. Again, Jean-Louis is a bit harsher than I am and would prefer force over trickery, if we had to choose one. Big surprise.

We decided to look into it and it appears that feeding difficulties at 9-10 months is quite common. And some people have it way worst than us too! Here are a couple of sites which talk about other parents' feeding problems:

Refusing Solids at 10-12 months

My baby suddenly hates her favorite foods. Help!

We're going to try to let him feed himself more finger foods. We'll see how that works. Feeding already takes a long time so this will only make it longer. He's not quite ready but we are about to train him on eating with a spoon. Right now, he is just exploring and playing with the spoon. Today is the first day he is using his training bowl as well.

Tristan started taking formula milk just in the afternoon three days ago. He has no problem taking it from a bottle. I know some babies become quite attached to their bottles and milk so I want to be careful Tristan is not given too much milk or drinking from the bottle too much. He still doesn't drink from his sippy cup. There are tons of scratch marks from him gnawing on it rather than sucking it. I have only witnessed him sucking on it twice so far. He is drinking more and more water though so that's good.

I am still breastfeeding. I'm down to just 2-3 times a day now. I still plan to nurse Tristan until he is 1 year old. I am a bit sad that I have to use formula since my milk supply is depleting. With so many other things, this attachment is also hard to let go somehow. On the bright side, we won't be tied down to being at home so much now since I don't have to worry about nursing in private as much. Jean-Louis can also take over the bottle feeds when he is home :)

Baby babble is great fun to watch. Tristan usually does it when he is happy. Yesterday, I finally heard him say "mama!" Yes, I was very pleased :) On top of baby babble, Tristan can sign "more," "milk," "ball," and "sun." Nice progress indeed.

He's not walking on his own yet but Tristan crawls, stands, and walks while holding onto something. He also just started to pull out the safety plugs from the electric outlets on the wall. So much for baby proofing. Baby proofing ends at 10 months for those things I guess. Climbing stairs is by far Tristan's favorite activity. He enjoys it more than playing with his toys. He could climb all day if you let him! It's great he's active but he has got to eat more to compensate for it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tristan's first play date with a friend

Yesterday, Tristan had his first play date with his little friend who is 13 months old. Play dates are fun in that they allow the Moms to chit-chat and the kids to play and share toys. Staying at home a lot and playing with the same toys can be boring. I know Tristan had fun just seeing other people at the house.

Tristan is not quite at that age yet where he knows how to play with others. Whenever they got close, they wanted to touch each other. Curiosity can be dangerous. We had to stay close by and make sure the babies weren't clawing each other. They never fought for toys. Tristan was entertained by just watching the other baby. Maybe once he is a bit older, they will be able to play better together.

The play date lasted a couple of hours and we took pictures, videos, drank tea, and had cherry strudels and chocolates. The kids had a snack time together as well. I can definitely see why Moms like to arrange play dates. It's great for both Mom and baby!

A taste of being a single parent

From Sunday around 4:30AM until Thursday around 1AM, I was by myself with Tristan. Jean-Louis went out of town and I got a taste of what it felt like if I were a single parent or if he wasn't around. No, I didn't like it at all. I hated being alone.

We tried to invite my parents over here from Victoria but my mom couldn't make it and it would just be my dad so we told them to forget it. Tristan is still unfamiliar with them and would be scared too. Luckily, we had daycare on Tuesday so that Tristan could see other human beings other than just Mommy. I was able to arrange a play date for Tristan at home on Wednesday afternoon and a friend of mine came over during dinner. Wednesday was definitely the most social day of the week!

Sunday and Monday were very long days. I thought I was going insane so I forced myself to go out for a walk with the stroller for a change of scenery. I don't like having to take care of everything myself. I always did most things around the house and I am the primary caretaker of Tristan but at least in the evenings, I get some relief here and there when Jean-Louis is home. Even little help is BIG help.

How did I survive? Well, needless to say, I couldn't even attempt work until Tuesday but something else came up and I bailed on work again. I know! Every time Tristan took a nap, I would try to prepare food or deal with all the messy things. Unfortunately, his naps lasted 30 minutes at a time. For his second nap during the day, I would run off to shower downstairs. That worked well the first night but was a disaster the second night. I didn't prep beforehand and had to creep into the room to grab my clean clothes just when he was about to fall asleep. Damn it! So, after a few more attempts at trying to put him to sleep, I just let him cry in his crib and I ran off to shower. Yeah, nightmare :( So days where he only had 1 nap were miserable days.

Another challenge I had was taking out the trash. The garbage room is downstairs and you need keys to get to it in the building. Or you could go around the building from the outside and enter near the underground parking. I didn't feel comfortable leaving Tristan at home alone, even if he was just sleeping. I placed my tightly packed garbage and recycling on the Mommy hook of the stroller and took Tristan out with me. That worked pretty well.

Now for cooking and feeding. I always start by feeding Tristan first. Then I may take a break after a course and do a few dishes or cook a bit more for myself. We ran out of food for him too so I had to cook for both of us at one point. Tristan can't be left alone too long without anything to do. I try to speak to him every now and then whenever I'm in the kitchen. Even when I eat, I have to sort of talk and play with him along the way. Afterwards when I have to clean up, I set him up for his finger food and that keeps him busy enough for me to do the dishes and put things away. So far, it has worked fairly well but I do have to run in and out of the kitchen constantly. It is a bit tiring but this way he doesn't fuss much. That means less stress on Mommy :)

Taking care of Tristan all alone was tiring but that wasn't what drove me nuts too much. It was the thought of being alone without help. I'm paranoid and I was always scared that if I got sick or he got sick or hurt, who would I call? 911? Or what if I lost my house key? Whenever I was out, I would check every so often that I still had my house key. The idea of having an emergency and not being able to turn to someone either than 911 was scary. I am the parent here so I am responsible for everything.

It was also an emotional time for me. Jean-Louis and I have not slept apart since 2003 and that was just 1 night, I think. Indeed we are an independent couple but as individuals, we depend quite heavily on each other. That is probably a very bad thing. We don't have close friends or family we can turn to. Just us, us, and us. It has always been that way. When Tristan gets older, we will have him :) Very cool :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Frustrations with feeding

It all started on his last visit to daycare last Thursday. True or not, I can't help but point fingers at daycare. All I know is that Tristan ate everything we gave him and everything that was packed for him at daycare until last Thursday. His lunch was pretty much untouched when I picked him up. It was the same meal with beef, carrots, and celery we fed him the past 2 or 3 meals. So why the sudden change? We tried giving him the same food for dinner that night with no luck. We tried again the next day for lunch but nope. Since then every lunch and dinner has been a struggle. Of course, he has no problem eating things that are sweet like cereal, carrots, or fruit.

Now, here is why I'm frustrated and mad. Since he turned 6 months, we have tried to introduce and feed him healthy solid foods. His first solid food after cereal was broccoli. We were also very careful not to introduce very sweet vegetables like carrots and squash too earlier as well. We focused on green veggies and foods that were not very flavorful like tofu and cauliflower. We don't want Tristan to have juice or anything with lots of sugar or salt. We definitely don't add any of those things or any spices in the baby food we make for him. Up until now, we thought we were doing very good. He was a great eater. He just loved to eat whatever you gave him.

The next time I drop him off at daycare, I will have to remind the staff there that Tristan is not allowed to eat anything other than what we provide. I can't help but think something must have happened. I will also have to tell them that Tristan needs to eat more because we are now worried about his weight. Hopefully, they can feed him all of his food next time. I have already decided to top up his breastmilk with formula.

Let's hope this is a temporary thing. Could just be a phase, yes? Feeding has been a nightmare lately because we have to force him to eat or trick him to eat. The feeding sessions are lasting a long time and we're making a big mess. We really did take it for granted before. Tristan was such a great eater but now it sucks. I wouldn't be so worried except that he is a bit on the skinny side and that worries me. I can just feed him things I know he will eat like more carrots and squash and less broccoli and green beans but I really do want him to stick to the variety of healthy foods we have been giving him. Such a dilemma! Now, I know how parents feel when their babies and kids don't want to eat :( Totally sucks for everyone.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Baby is a bit on the skinny side

I took Tristan to the doctor's today to get him measured and weighed. The last measurements taken were when he was 6 months old. We were a bit concerned since some people have mentioned that he was skinny (by some, I mean my parents) and his 6-12 months clothes are kind of swimming on him. In fact, he is still wearing a few outfits which are 6 months. Tristan will be 10 months old in 9 days.

Tristan measures 71 cm in length, which puts him in the 25-50% tile. That's where he was from the start so that's great. His weight, however, has now dropped him off from the 25-50% tile to the 10% tile. The doctor didn't seem that concerned when I told her what I was feeding him. I did mention that I am concerned that he might not be getting enough milk since I am no longer producing much. I only feed 3 times a day and on his daycare days, I pump only 3 oz. at lunch time. I'm sure he can drink more from me since he is a more efficient pump but still. At this stage, he should be getting around 24 oz. of milk a day. So the doctor is suggesting that maybe I can try to introduce some whole milk or formula milk on top of the breastmilk. So, I'm debating what to do right now. I would like to wait until he is 12 months before giving him whole milk but I'm already giving him cheese and yogurt.

The doctor said that it is normal that the baby doesn't gain much weight now that he is mobile. Tristan is crawling, standing, and always on the move. In fact, after lunch today, he crawled 4 flights of stairs - that's 28 steps! That must be a big workout for a baby. I grabbed him by the chest at one point and felt his heart pounding really fast. Good thing he always had a strong heart!

I think I would still like to hold off on the whole milk idea and give him formula instead. We do have some formula which we need to use up. I'll wait until he turns 10 months first. Until then, I'll up his dairy consumption of yogurt and cheese. It's only 9 days; I can live with that. In a month, we will go back to see the doctor and weigh him again. All in all, I'm not too worried. He doesn't look particularly skinny.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Baby is starting to sign back at us at 9 months

Yes, I think I can say this now. It was questionable about a month ago but now we're seeing repeated hand signs from Tristan during feeding. At this point, he may not fully understand what it means or could simply be imitating us. However, our baby sign book explains that that is how it can all start.

Tristan does the sign "more" by bringing his hands together and tapping all his fingers. Sometimes he appears to do the sign for "milk" too. That one is a little questionable though. It's exciting though because he can't speak much at all right now. We haven't even heard him say "dada" or "mama." If he can sign to us and communicate with us that way, then that would definitely make up for it. I'm imagining the day when he has a poop and then signs to us so that we know he is done and needs to be changed. Yeah right! Now, wouldn't that be nice :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The first week of daycare

Well, it was just 2 days of the week but we made it. Tristan didn't seem too distressed and I was told that he cried just a little bit here and there. Overall, he was a good baby. Sounds like he is not giving the caregivers a hard time, which is a relief. They are friendly people and Tristan doesn't seem upset with me for leaving him there to play for 6 hours or so. I don't feel so bad now. Next week, I may leave him there a bit longer during the day.

When I picked him up the first day, I was somewhat excited, thinking he was going to be happy to see me. In the contrary, instead of greeting me with a smiling face, he almost cried. It was the same reaction I normally receive when I walk into the room while Tristan is playing with Jean-Louis. He is fine until I show up. Whining because he wants to be with Mommy? Maybe.

So I was worried for nothing. The caregiver keeps telling me not to worry and that he is fine. And he was. Picking him up at around 4PM is not the best plan since that is his nap time and he tends to be cranky. He totally crashed in the stroller walk back home. In fact, he was so tired, he even slept through the very loud motor noises from the guy pruning the bushes outside of our front door. I just left him in the stroller to sleep and he must have slept like an hour! What did they do to him at daycare?

Day 2 was pretty great too. He cried a bit more it seemed but I also heard that he only had a cat nap in the morning. When I arrived, he was actually sleeping. I took him and we strolled to Save-On Foods. He woke up shortly after I got home.

All in all, the first week went great. I haven't seen him interact with any of the other kids there yet. That would be nice to see and take pictures of :) He is the youngest one there though. I think the other kids are between 18 months and 4 or 5 years. Eventually, he should be able to play with them all.

As we expected, there were a few downsides to having him in daycare. I know we couldn't expect everything to be done the way we normally would do things. After the first day, Tristan started to get a bit of a diaper rash. We haven't seen diaper rashes on him since birth really. Then there were the stains. Food stains on his clothes from feeding, like blueberries. I had to treat it with OxiClean Baby once we got home. Finally, when I spoke to the caregiver, she did mention that she rocked him to sleep. Then, she would put him down and he would sleep right away. She seemed impressed with that too. That's something we don't do but we can live with that. At home, we just put him down period. He would probably have a bit of trouble falling asleep on his own in a new place anyway. Again, we can live with that. Ok, I will stop complaining now because things really are going better than we anticipated :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just dropped him off at daycare - phew!

The drop off this morning was a success. We arrived at 9:38AM. I briefed the caregivers and left at around 10AM. I had a list of things on a sheet that I went through with them and they seemed ok with all of them. I hope they understand it all too. I said my goodbye quickly and then left. Tristan didn't cry so that made it much easier on me. Don't think he knew what was going on. He seemed a bit dazed.

Cindy, one of the staff, there changed Tristan's diaper while I was still there and he didn't fuss at all. She did it without taking off his entire pants too. Impressive. She remarked that he doesn't cry. I told her "not yet." I sure hope he is a good boy and that he has a nice play day there. Since it is his first day, I will go pick him up earlier today around 4PM. I told Cindy I would call around lunch time to check on him too. Hey, I'm a first time parent and this is my first daycare experience! They seem cool with a lot of things I requested and are flexible so that is a plus.

It feels weird being alone. The house is super quiet. I like it :) Now, I sort of remember what life was like before Tristan arrived. With Tristan, it has always been rush rush whenever I did anything. I am now slowing down just a bit and it's nice.

What's planned for today? Work of course. I want to get a good 3-4 hours of work done. Cooking, laundry and maybe even a nap :)
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