Friday, March 30, 2012

Night Weaning - Week 3 of 3

Click here to read Week 1 of 3 and Week 2 of 3, if you haven't already.

Night 15

Despite sleeping in and having a decent nap, Sasha started crying for milk at 8:30. I was in the middle of getting Spencer to sleep, though. Then Sasha helped me make a batch of dough for Mama Jeeper's Oatmeal Lactation Breakfast Bars and we didn't finish until 10:30. She nursed, but not to sleep. We tried again an hour later, though she set her bear on Spencer, getting him started waking up.

She almost got to sleep on that second try. I find myself getting irritated when it doesn't work quickly, but I did let her nurse for only 5-10 minutes. I was hungry, too, and don't like to step out of our room for food when she is still awake.

The third try was a charm, but she didn't get to sleep until after midnight. I went to bed at about 1 and Sasha woke up shortly after 2. She settled really easily after going potty! Then she slept for... SEVEN hours!! Without help!

Monday, March 26, 2012

DIY + from the Natural Parents Network Volunteers

It's that time again! You might remember the great post in December 2011 that highlighted the Natural Parents Network Volunteers' most popular or favorite posts from the year. Well, we are back and this time we are bringing you a collection of posts that focus on Do It Yourself projects, How To's, Tutorials, Recipes, and anything related to a step by step guide or informational how-to.

There are a lot of really wonderful posts here and I hope that this serves as an excellent resource that you can pass on to your friends! Monday Minimalist will return next week. Enjoy!

I shared my Family Cloth Tutorial in pictures. It includes step by step photos with some tips for making very neat family cloth. You can find me on Facebook, too!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Surf: Parenting

I had such a beautiful and productive Saturday, despite having a toothache. Today, however, the kids (namely the toddler, as usual) is grating my nerves. An attempt to get a nap with Spencer (as the husband strongly suggested) resulted in a very short nap which just made my toothache worse.

I totally spaced Sunday Surf last weekend, so here are two weeks worth of links!

Hobo Mama: A Natural Parenting Blog

To praise or not to praise: Is that the question?

I've written before about not praising OR disciplining children, namely in my EC - No Praise / No Discipline post. The first time I heard Alfie Kohn (on DVD) talk about not praising kids, it made sense to me... or at least his reasoning did. Still, I felt a little lost about where to go from there. Click over to read a guest post from Amy Phoenix from Presence Parenting on Hobo Mama's blog. She went through the same confusion... but came out with some great explanations and tips for us!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Night Weaning - Week 2 of 3

Click here to read Week 1 of 3 if you haven't already.

Night 8

Sasha was asleep by about 9:15. She woke shortly before midnight. It didn't take long to settle her back down to sleep. She woke up again at 2. Then she slept through to 7:30. She asked nicely for milk... and the sun was up... I caved. I hoped she might go back to sleep, so I felt like I shouldn't cave. I felt pretty awful because I said no the day before at the exact same time. But then she didn't go back to sleep... so it really was good morning milk, even though we didn't call it that.

Night 9

Sasha had a nap! At about 3:30 in the afternoon. She asked for night night milk by 11, but was wide-eyed through nursing for about 10 minutes. She wound up sitting at the head of her bed and falling asleep, holding her bear. She was asleep by 11:30.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spencer's Heart Plus

We had our follow-up with the cardiologist today. The ultrasound portion takes nearly half an hour. Then an EKG and some other vitals. Then we wait for the doctor to review the information, visit with Spencer, and then he leaves us to wait a few more minutes.

He was very impressed with how attentive and strong Spencer is. He said we are very lucky and it looks like Spencer will have a high IQ. (I assume he meant "for a child with DS.")

He called Spencer's pediatrician while we were waiting. He hears a stridor when Spencer breathes. Also, his pulmonary hypertension has gotten worse and they don't know why. They put their heads together and are going to be sending us for some other tests. We need to find the cause for the hypertension, so we go back again in 3 weeks.

In better news, Spencer's right ventricle has started to shrink down, which is normal and a good sign. I didn't realize it was enlarged. We really do like our pediatrician and our cardiologist. It was amazing that he called right then. Spencer will be sent for another type of swallow study with an ENT specialist (to see if something is causing the stridor) and we're supposed to share a chest x-ray with the cardiologist if they do one there.

Some small part of me wants to freak out and cry about these new unknowns. For the most part, I'm taking it in stride. We'll tackle each issue as they present themselves. Healthy vibes welcome!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mamatography - Week 10

Day 64


Cast Iron - Day 1My very first attempt with my new cast iron griddle.
It didn't seem to go quite right.

World Down Syndrome Day

March 21st, 2012 marks the 7th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day and for the first time in 2012 this day will be officially observed by the United Nations!

In "Wordless Wednesday" style, I thought I'd offer you a couple photographs to share our day with you. Tune in later today for my regularly scheduled Mamatography post.

Family in NICUOur perfect little reason to celebrate the day!

SpencerI can't begin to express how perfect he is!
But if you're a mother, I think you understand.

Down syndrome is scientifically known as trisomy 21. It is caused when a person has an extra copy (for a total of 3) of the 21st chromosome. This is what makes 3/21 the perfect date for our celebration!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Minimalist: In the Kitchen

I did some pretty major downsizing (I thought) in my kitchen last August, as you may recall from that MM post (Monday Minimalist: Small Appliances). I traded one appliance for a toy, but wound up giving several others away because no one wanted to buy them.

Fast forward to March and moving into a travel trailer. If I thought moving into a small, shared space was motivation, it had nothing on moving into a travel trailer!

We gave our microwave to the Free Store because someone had taken the community microwave there. We donated lots of other appliances to Goodwill (and later wished we'd sent them to the Free Store instead, especially since someone took the community coffee maker, too). We were able to donate our microwave because there is one built into the travel trailer.

The only small appliances I actually kept were:
  • The toaster: I love that it has plastic sides! I can put it away immediately after using it because the sides don't get hot.
  • The mixer: because I don't know if you can use the immersion blender instead of a mixer for everything.
  • My new immersion blender! This thing is nice, small and versatile, plus it is a lot easier to clean than a blender, especially when you consider that I'm hand washing the dishes now!

    That is IT. I do not own any other small appliances for the kitchen at all. What small appliances could you not live without in your kitchen?

    Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist

    Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post and I'll share it on my blog.

    Click the icon to grab the button for your MM posts or for details on how to join the movement.

  • Friday, March 16, 2012

    Night Weaning - Week 1 of 3

    I am absolutely stubborn-headed against weaning my toddler. I am all for children leading the way on weaning, weaning themselves. However, sleep has become a major issue! Since moving (we think that is the starting point), Sasha has been waking every hour or two (or three, if I'm lucky!). She wants to nurse back to sleep every time. I don't have a problem nursing her back to sleep, its the waking so often that is killing me. She wakes up more often than Spencer!

    So, we took her to the new pediatrician. I talked to my Natural Parenting mom friends. I talked to my older mom friends. I talked to Sasha's first pediatrician (our OB/Family doc). They all had pretty much the same advice: stop letting her have milk in the middle of the night. When the first doctor suggested it, my knee-jerk reaction was an emphatic no. However, as more and more people supported this idea... I had to consider it. One dear friend suggested I commit to trying for two weeks and then reevaluate.

    Finally, I jumped into it one night, which is how I tend to do things. It was a Monday night (leading into what is my husband's Monday). That may not have been my best choice. She soon rolled over and called out "No" in her sleep.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Mamatography - Week 9

    Day 57


    Pizza Hut Lava CakeThe night before my birthday, we got Lava Cake delivery from Domino's... it is so good!

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Raised by a Special Needs Mom

    Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs

    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

    Someone inspired me to take a different approach to this topic. I'm sure there are plenty of posts about having children with special needs. I even have a son with special needs myself. I'd like to share some things about being raised by a single mother that was handicapped.

    Shirley ~ MomMom hated this photo of her as a girl in a hospital trying to blow bubbles. I have always adored it. I know those were bad times, but this picture has always made me smile.

    My mother got polio as a young child.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Monday Minimalist: How low can you go?

    We recently purchased our travel trailer, one step closer to living on the road. We had been staying with friends, so we were anxious to move into our own space. We had been minimizing, even while staying there. Four of us (including Spencer) were living in a 10 x 10 room. Other than using the kitchen there, we did everything in that room.

    We did have a decent size closet. We shared the hanging space and still had plenty clothing items, despite downsizing a few times. (Sometimes it is a process.) Our new closet is about 1 foot wide. We brought all of our hanger clothes over to the new space and went through them on the tailgate. We gave some items to a friend and donated the rest to the local Free Store.

    I also got rid of the rest of my small appliances. The only items I kept were my immersion blender and my toaster. We even took our microwave to the Free Store after finding out that someone took the community microwave from there. I wish we'd taken them our coffee maker, too. Alas, we donated the other appliances to Goodwill. I also accidentally donated some coffee mugs that held some sentimental value. I don't have a single cup for drinking hot tea. I'm working on that.

    Back to the closet, though... our jeans are folded / rolled at the bottom of a lower cabinet. Elmo has 1 week worth of work shirts folded at the bottom of the closet seen above. Otherwise, those are all of our shirts (and my dress and skirts). That isn't for a particular season, that is everything (other than what we were wearing at the time). You can see the divide, half of it is his and half mine. There are a couple of items for the babies in the middle.

    We have done some amazingly hard core minimizing! If we get an apartment in a few months, it will surely feel quite empty! How many clothing items do you think you need? I've seen other minimizing challenges for closets.

    Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist

    Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post and I'll share it on my blog.

    Click the icon to grab the button for your MM posts or for details on how to join the movement.

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Sunday Surf: Simple Sunday

    We recently moved into a space that includes WiFi. The service, however, is completely unreliable. And so I have literally only been to one link this week and didn't have any links to share the week before that. Good thing, too, since I couldn't get online to share anything with you then, either.

    A friend shared this messed up story of some parents suing their medical staff because they didn't get a prenatal DS diagnosis (but have a child with DS). This country sure is suit-happy. Anyway, they were awarded $2.9 million!

    Have I missed anything big or amazing in the last two weeks?

    Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI'm joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

    For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

    Happy Surfing!

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Child-led solids: Sharing soft foods with infants

    This is a re-posting of an article I wrote for Hobo Mama and had published in August:

    Sharing soft foods with older infants was not a new idea to me. I totally understood letting a baby taste something on your fingertip or having a bite of mashed potatoes. With my older daughter, I made a lot of baby food myself (with my mother's help). I was trying to be health conscious and give her a good start. Her first food was rice cereal made with breast milk. That would not be my first choice again, though she did love it! I gave it to her when she was exactly 6 months old, by the book. She did continue to nurse until she self-weaned at 3½ years old.

    With my younger daughter, I stumbled upon the idea of "child led weaning." I really don't like that term as it applies to solids. Weaning, to me, is more specifically about breastmilk. I think a more appropriate term would be "child led introduction to solids," awkward as that is.

    I feel like Natural Parenting is often the lazier easier way to do things. It made sense to me to share my own plate with my baby! After all, that is where I gauged her interest and therefore readiness for solids. I started her with steamed vegetables that were still solid enough that they could be handled and that I would eat (and did).

    Sasha with Veggies8mo Sasha enjoying Broccoli! She still loves it!
    I've since gotten rid of this labeling bib.

    I read a lot before I felt comfortable as far as fear of choking1. In fact, in the early days I did sometimes use a mesh feeding bag thing. I didn't care for it. Sasha hardly got any actual food through the bag. She wasn't truly getting to try out any textures. It was also a pain to clean and I didn't really trust the dishwasher to do a thorough job. The first time I shared solids with Sasha at my mom's place, she gagged. I was mortified. I pride myself in the choices I make, this one included. Having this new idea look scary in front of my mother made me question my decision. Sasha did, occasionally, gag hard enough to spit up a little bit. I never felt she was in danger. I stuck to it.

    Sasha with Mesh FeederSasha chewing on her mesh feeder.

    Sasha enjoyed nearly every food I gave her. I'm generally an extreme person, all-or-nothing, so I feel like I threw my streak by blending food for her a few times. Still, we tried steamed carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, fresh avocados, the list goes on! Some online reading helped, but I had to keep a few things in mind:

    • Babies in other countries eat spicy foods or raw fish, it all depends on the cultural foods of the area. I should not be afraid to try these foods with my own baby.
    • Elmo and I have almost no food allergies, so the likelihood of Sasha having any food allergies was minimal.
    This meant I could share almost anything and that I didn't have to test one single ingredient on Sasha at a time.

    I've read articles about how to get a picky toddler to eat, especially when they're so busy exploring their worlds. The article suggested that they wouldn't sit still to eat. Honestly, I don't even recall the solution! I've seen Monkey Trays and Muffin Tin Meals, which look great! This has never been a problem for us, though. Sasha eats plenty because I don't feel the need to strap her into her chair for meals. Part of this is because she doesn't like the clean-up afterward and neither do I! It is such a pain. Food in her hair, ears, under her thighs, it just gets everywhere. So... I sit where she can reach my plate and she comes to get bites from me or to pick from my plate whenever she likes. The only tough part with this method is making sure I drag my meal out long enough. Sometimes I finish first, but if she expresses an interest in more food, I simply get seconds and hold my plate for longer.

    Ronni & Sasha share yogurtMy 12yo & 15mo sharing a cup of yogurt

    I don't like yogurt, but recognize that it is an amazingly beneficial food. I do feed Sasha yogurt. Sometimes I let her have it in her high chair, especially with bananas cut up in it. This is a huge mess, but she likes to use the utensils. Otherwise, we just hold the cup and feed her bites as she comes back to us for them. This brings us to utensils. Sometimes when she is in her high chair, she still wants the food off of our plates, even though it is the same as what she has. She has worked out a system that if I offer her my fork upside down, she can easily take it and feed herself the bite. I didn't plan this system, it just kind of happened. Most of the time she'll return the fork once she has the bite. Every once in a while, she wants to feed ME with a fork. I'm okay with that, too.

    Another important lesson I've learned along the way, as Sasha has cut more and more teeth: Sasha has got to have an empty mouth when she nurses! Even at 1½ years old, some things are just not chewable. Heck, I sometimes have a hard time with pepper or tomato skins, too! So, she sticks out her tongue and just brushes these leftover bits out of her mouth. She has been known to carry them around in her mouth for a while, though. If she has any food in her mouth, she will chew on my nipple! She usually stops right away to clear her mouth.

    I believe that with each child we have, we're given the opportunity to be more and more confident in our parenting decisions. I was a bit unsure of myself when I started child led introduction to solids. Next time, though, I think I'll be much more comfortable with it! I'll just remember:

    • No mesh feeder
    • 6 months is not a magic number ~ I believe Sasha might have been ready sooner, and some babies take longer to be ready. I'm hung up on this date, though, so I don't know if I'll be able to beat this one next time, either.
    • A little gagging is not cause to freak out.
    • Pretty much anything I can eat, baby can try, too.
    • Empty mouth before latch!
    • Follow my natural instincts!
    Sasha's Birthday BreakfastSasha's First Birthday Breakfast
    Scrambled eggs, sausage, and french toast ~ just like Mommy & Daddy

    After all of our experiences, the main key is that we'll do whatever works for us with the next baby. It may not be the same at all the next time around.

    How did you handle solids with your kids?

    Further reading is available from these links on Natural Parents Network: Feed With Love and Respect: Solids.

    1 Before introducing solids, you should definitely familiarize yourself with what to do about it. If your child is coughing or gagging, she can still breathe (and therefore not choking). Encourage her to cough, which is the most effective way to dislodge food blocking the airway. Some children gag (not choke) as they're becoming used to the texture and process of eating solid foods.

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    I Hate You

    We all lose patience, I know its true. And these days, society uses the term hate so willy-nilly. Shoot, if someone tells me they're having a fancy cupcake I might tell them I hate them. At the very least, I might say "I hate you right now."

    So then what happens when we're losing patience? (Note: All this happened after Sasha claimed to be ready for bed and nursed for about 3 minutes.) Sasha says she wants a bite. OK. She hasn't been eating very well so I'm happy to oblige. I want to help her find something, anything that she'll eat... aside from more junk food / snacks.

    What do you want to eat? She shows me the chair where he booster seat usually sits. No, that is not food. What do you want to eat? "Puppy Dog" What do you want to eat?

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