31 May 2012

Crafty Thursday

I've still not done much knitting, especially since I managed to slice my fingertip when slicing bread the other day (talent, I know).  But I did start working on making a sleeping bag for the baby.  I'm just using an acrylic yarn, and I like the red.  I might duplicate stitch a design on after I'm finished, but I'm not sure yet.  As you can tell, I don't do pastels.

If you'd told me years ago that I'd contemplate using cloth pads, let alone making my own, I'd have said you were insane.  Yet here I am, making some for after the baby is born.  I started off with a circle pad, as that seemed easy enough for me to handle.  Ignore the unmatched fabrics.  I just got whatever I could find that was on sale, and since Joann's was having a nice sale, it worked out.  I do think I'll tweak it a little for the next one by leaving a seam allowance and then not cutting the PUL down, thus making it slightly larger.  Overall I think I like it, though I don't think it'll do well for immediately postnatal.

I therefore found another another template that I tweaked.  I really like the idea of the removable pad like with the circle pad (or with LunaPads, for that matter), especially since I prefer to hang things to dry whenever possible and therefore like things to dry quickly.  So I added the fleece bands as with the circle pad.  I also made this one a bit longer than the template, as I plan on this one being for immediately postnatal.  I'll make a thicker pad for it, too.  So far I'm pleased with how they're turning out.  I hope I still like them as well once I'm using them.

28 May 2012

Book Nook

From Amazon
On our latest trip to the library, we were all able to go as a family.  I get a little irritated that the library has a play area right in the midst of the children's books, as then the children don't look for books, to be honest.  So they gravitated towards the toys, and my husband and I looked at books to see if we could find some they would like.  My husband found The Chocolate Cat by Sue Stainton and thought it looked like something they'd like, so we checked it out.

I'm glad he found it!  It's a very nice story, and the children love it.  The chocolate cat, it turns out, is a cat who lives in a chocolate shop.  Both the chocolate shop owner and the cat are loners who don't much care for the other villagers, until the chocolate shop owner makes a special, perhaps even magical, treat that changes the entire village for the better.

22 May 2012

No Such Thing

When I got pregnant with Kieran, I didn't really have morning sickness until 11 weeks or so, and it was in the afternoons and evenings. I couldn't stand the smell of tomatoes or onions during that time, it once the sickness went away (it got markedly better after 18 weeks, and was gone by 22 weeks), I felt great and coud eat whatever I wanted. I got heartburn from everything, but I wasn't nauseated. I wasn't fond of chocolate, but I've never been a chocoholic. I had some intermittent sciatic pain, but stayed active with walking everywhere and doing Pilates. I had no stretch marks, and carried low. I figured this was just my typical pregnancy, and I prepared myself for my next pregnancy to be similar.

Then I fell pregnant with Charlotte, and I learnt that there was no such thing as a typical pregnancy for a particular person. The queasiness with her started before the two-week-wait was finished. By 6 weeks, I couldn't even eat crackers. Tomatoes sounded and smelled ok, but made me feel absolutely horrendous for about 24 hours. I didn't have heartburn, but did have constant nausea for most of the pregnancy. That only abated between 22-30 weeks, when it returned until I gave birth. I didn't have sciatic pain, but I'd have foot and leg cramps. While I still carried pretty low, I carried her higher than Kieran, and I had lots of stretch marks and got a lot bigger with her. I think I was the same size at 30 weeks with her as I was at 40 weeks with Kieran. Realising that there was no one typical pregnancy for a person, I then assumed hat my first pregnancy was just a typical boy pregnancy for me, and the next a typical girl pregnancy.

Well, then I fell pregnant with this one, and this pregnancy is unlike either of my previous pregnancies, so there goes that idea. Evidently there is no such thing as a typical pregnancy at all, at least not for me. I had nausea early, but not as bad as with Charlotte, and taking B12 made it so much better. I don't want tomatoes, but do want pickles. I have actual food cravings. I have some heartburn, but nothing bad. Some sciatic pain, but again nothing bad. It will bei there sting to see how the rest of the pregnancy goes.

21 May 2012

Book Nook

Last week I mentioned that I'd had to read a lighthearted book to follow Love You Forever.  Well, that book was I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, by Dr Seuss.  My children found it on the shelf and fell in love, so we've all read it to them multiple times.  While longish, it's a good book.  I actually hadn't recognised it when the kids brought it to me, so I'm not sure if I'd read it before.  It's a good story, though, with the moral of realising your own troubles are better than trying to find a place without troubles, for there isn't any such place, and you may find that your own troubles really aren't so bad after all: a lesson from which we can all benefit.

17 May 2012

Crafty Thursday

I've once again misplaced our camera, so you'll have to bear with the iPad photos today.  I recently made another maternity dress, and then made this skirt for Charlotte out of the scraps.  I'm happy with the look of it.  I'll have to take a photo of the dress later, I'm afraid.

And what's this cute little thing?  It's a fit.  Yes, that's right, a fit.  Whenever your toddler (or you) feel like throwing a fit, just throw this little fit to diffuse the situation. I can't guarantee absolute success, but it does seem to help Charlotte at times.  If you'd like one, you can check out my Etsy shop, where I'd be happy to make custom orders of these, too.

14 May 2012

Book Nook

A few days ago I received some mail from a friend, which included the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (image shown from Wiki). I saw that the book was there and recognised it, but didn't think much of it. Well, yesterday, which was Mother's Day in the US, I asked the kids if they wanted me to read it. So they both climbed up in a big leather armchair with me while I read it. I managed not to cry until the end, amazingly (I then immediately read something more light-hearted, but you'll have to wait until next week to hear about that one). It's a sweet book, but I can't help getting teary when reading it. Any mother can absolutely relate, though. Updated: a reader shared the story behind the story. It's a must read!

13 May 2012

Why Breastfeeding in Public Shouldn't Be a Big Deal

I have to confess that it still boggles me that breastfeeding in public is a matter of debate at all. To me, it seems natural that I should breastfeed my child, yes, even past infancy, in public if my child needs that when we're out of the house. Yet others disagree. To them, I would ask a couple of questions:

1) Do you have an issue with eating in public?

2) Do you have an issue with seeing a child with a bottle or dummy in public?

If the answer to both of these questions is no, then breastfeeding also shouldn't be an issue, for that is the way we were designed to nourish and comfort our children, yes, even past infancy. Somehow I doubt that the nearly-2-year-old I saw bottle-feeding at Mass got asked to do that elsewhere or make the child wait, yet I've been asked to cover or move when breastfeeding a child of the same age (note: I do not use a cover,but this doesn't mean I'm sitting there topless, as nothing can really be seen as long as the child is latched on). I've seen many an older child with Cheerios at Mass, yet somehow I imagine it would be frowned upon if I breastfed Kieran at Mass (another note: I personally don't allow snacks at Mass, as I know they'd end up everywhere with my children).

Of course, I'm not only speaking of breastfeeding at Mass, it's just that the children and I usually go to Mass on a daily basis, so it is an easy example for me to use. I could also use the example of shopping, though. I is not uncommon to see babies and older children with bottles, dummies, and/or snacks when sitting in the trolley. Since this is perfectly acceptable, breastfeeding also should be, for breastfeeding is, again, the normal way to feed and comfort a child. The sooner that fact is realised by the general public, the sooner people will stop paying attention to how a child is being fed or comforted in public.

Another critique people sometimes have is when a mother is breastfeeding a child older than 1 in public.  To me, this still misses the point, as it seems to suggest that breastfeeding is shameful but a necessary evil when a child is younger and cannot physically wait longer between feeds.  Again, if that same person has no qualms about a child over the age of one having a bottle, sippy cup, snack, or dummy in public, then breastfeeding that same child in public also should not be an issue at all.  It should also be noted that however we feed and comfort our children, we really aren't seeking attention or exploiting our children in the name of a cause.  We're just mothers taking care of our children.  End of story.

Sunday Snippets - a Catholic Carnival

Happy Mother's Day! Check out RAnn's blog for the full carnival. :-). I've only had two posts this week: Book Nook, and a post on trusting my instincts.

10 May 2012

Trusting My Instincts in the Face of Fear

Upon giving birth, I found that I had all these mothering instincts I never knew I had. They certainly hadn't come from any extensive experience with babies, for I am the youngest child and didn't really babysit much, especially not for babies. Yes, I have nephews and nieces, but I only rarely babysat, and never for a long time. I also didn't have to make any decisions, really, for their parents had left clear instructions for every contingency. Even so, when my own child was born, I found I simply knew what to do for the most part.

But there is another thing that comes with being a mother: fear. Fear of something being wrong. Fear that I'm doing the wrong thing. Even when my instincts tell me something and how to act, I find myself fighting against that fear. This is especially the case if it is someone in a position of perceived authority telling me something that goes against my instincts.

On more than one occasion I've found myself challenged on something and have found myself caving because of the fear. Yet later when I looked at it objectively, I wished I'd followed my instincts, for my instincts were correct. While I know that it is never a good idea to act in fear, the fear that comes with being a mother is hard to overcome at times. All this isn't to say to ignore what others say, for sometimes we do need their input and expertise, but all should be weighed against what we know as mothers. No one knows our children like we do, and so our instincts are invaluable. Maybe someday I can learn to ignore the fear all the time when it comes to making decisions, though.

7 May 2012

Book Nook

Last week my children were given a new book, See You Later, Alligator by Annie Kubler. The alligator's head is actually a finger puppet, though I wish it were a little larger, as it is somewhat awkward. The story is cute, and is somewhat reminiscent of The Little Red Hen, which was a favourite of mine as a child.

6 May 2012

Sunday Snippets - a Catholic Carnival

Happy 5th week of Easter! Thank you, RAnn, for hosting the carnival. It's been quite a week here. I took a little bit of a different tack with my Book Nook this week. My Maine Coon got a post about his talent this week, and I also linked to another post on navigating the rapids when it comes to dietary guidelines during pregnancy. The week was rounded out with some sewing projects and a short post on breastfeeding in public.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Breastfeeding in Public - What's the Big Deal?

Why is breastfeeding in public such a hot-button topic? Why do we even bat an eye when a mother does what is biologically normal? If others can eat in public, why not a baby?

These were my thoughts this morning when I read the "Manners Up" article in this week's Parade. A teacher had written that one of the mothers also had a one-year-old whom she brought to school events, and breastfed without a cover. Evidently some parents had asked the teacher to say something to this other mother. While the answer given focuses on the breastfeeding mother, I think the real question should be why the other parents and the teacher even think it is a problem to breastfeed in public, with or without a cover. Surely it says a lot about our society when we freak out about breasts being used for their intended purpose instead of put on display and used to sell whatever random products are being advertised.

It is sad, really, that there even is a discussion on e appropriateness of breastfeeding in public. A baby needs to be fed on demand, whatever the mode of feeding. If it is appropriate to bottle-feed in public to meet the child's needs, then it should also be appropriate to breastfeed in public as the child needs. I don't know how to make it so that people don't even bat an eye when they see a mum breastfeeding. I do thing the attitude is slowly changing thanks to laws ensuring women have the right to breastfeed in public, and thanks to the somewhat increasing number of mums who are breastfeeding in public, but there's obviously a long way to go since questions like this still arise.

3 May 2012

Crafty Thursday

I haven't done much, if any, knitting this week, but I did finally get around to doing some sewing!  A friend sent me a link to a tutorial about how to make a maternity dress by cutting off the bottom of a t-shirt and then getting some knit material for the skirt part.  It sounded easy enough, even given my lack of sewing finesse, and so I eagerly went out and bought some material and found a V-neck shirt (to allow for nursing while wearing it - this is why I don't often wear dresses, as it's hard to nurse in many of them).  And then the shirt and material sat there for a few weeks.  This past week I finally decided to get it out and make the dress.  Cutting out the material was slow-going, as I could only do it if Charlotte was asleep.  Otherwise, she'd put toys on the fabric and move it around.  So I found a time when she was sleeping and laid it out and measured.  I cut it on the tile floor, as the grout lines ensured I cut straight.  One of the cats decided to "help" by trying to attack the scissors, but thankfully no harm was done.  Once I got the pieces cut out, the sewing went pretty quick, and this is the result.  There are some things I'd do a bit better on another one (and I do plan on making another one once I get more material), but overall I like it.  It'll drape well once I have more of a bump, too.

I absolutely hate being wasteful, and I had the bottom of the t-shirt and some (ok, quite a bit) of the green material left over.  I'd just gotten two yards since that was easy to figure, and it gave me some leeway.  So anyway, I had this material left over and thought it would be perfect for a tiered skirt for Charlotte.  She was excited about that prospect, too.  Now, I've never made a tiered skirt, but I figured it couldn't be too difficult and that there were surely tutorials online.  I was right on both counts.  I did diverge from the tutorial a little in that I made tubes instead of two strips each, but it worked.   My daughter loves her new skirt, too.

2 May 2012

Navigating the Rapids

When you're pregnant (and/or breastfeeding), the list of dietary restrictions can seem daunting, not to mention confusing since they vary in different places and at different times (the guidelines on alcohol consumption changed twice during my pregnancy with Kieran, for example). As this article points out, nothing is risk-free, and women need to be given accurate information to make their own decisions. I highly recommend reading the whole article, as it is really good.

1 May 2012

Cats - Nature's Hormone Detectors

Is the impatience of the two-week-wait getting to you? Are you wishing you could test just a week after ovulation? Then what you need is Cosmo, a Maine Coon who seems to have an uncanny ability to detect pregnancy quite early. unfortunately all I have to offer in the way of proof is my own anecdotal evidence from my three pregnancies.

By the time Cosmo was released from quarantine, I was already pregnant with Kieran. Cosmo was very affectionate, and took to sitting in my lap, which is rather unusual for him. His usual display of affection is to play with hair. At first, I chalked it up to him just being glad to be out of quarantine (though he'd actually enjoyed it there). However, this continued throughout the pregnancy, even when Kieran kicked him.

Fast forward to when I fell pregnant with Charlotte. Starting around 8dpo, Cosmo started getting in my lap a little, which tipped me off that I was probably pregnant. I got a positive test two days later. With this one, he started doing that at 7 or 8 dpo, and I got a positive test at 13dpo. He seems to have an uncanny ability to detect the hormonal changes. (quick note: this test doesn't work if you're the person who feeds Cosmo, which I'm not)

His abilities are not limited to detecting pregnancy. He can also sense when labour is near. I really didn't pay attention to whether he acted different before Kieran was born, but he started "nesting" about a week before Charlotte was born. Normally his cat bed stayed on the landing, but he moved it every night to the living room, where I was planning to give birth. He would stay there and keep watch. On the night of the birth, he stayed where he could see me. It really amazes me what cats can sense.