Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Going Home and Going Offline

The babe and I have just returned from a trip home to Canada. It was a wonderful visit that went by very quickly (it also felt like we were gone for a million years). I have made a few observations on the trip since my return (in no particular order):

-It would appear as though I don't need the computer when I am surrounded by people and away from my regular routine. I barely checked email, didn't do any blogging, and rarely checked in with Facebook. I had people around every day and it was a nice change from the relatively solitary life the babe and I lead in Washington, D.C.

-It's amazing that it can take 6 adults to take care of a baby (last Sunday morning at my parents place), but when I'm at home alone, it takes only me (yesterday and today).

-There is just no way to see all the people you want to see, so there's no point in trying. I feel guilty about the folks I didn't have time to contact, but realize that when working with a baby's schedule, you really don't have a lot of flexibility.

-Flying alone with a baby is just not fun. Especially when you're surrounded by men who don't have much sympathy for a woman travelling with a squirming, scratching, crying baby.

-Diaper cream at night really does make a difference. As we were out of our routine, I stopped putting the cream on at night when I was getting the babe ready for bed (mostly because it was dark in the room and I couldn't see). Within a few days, she got diaper rash like I'd never seen before. I suppose my preventative cream use had been doing something after all.

-Webcams are awesome. We always talk to the babe's grandparents on the webcam from Washington. When we go to Canada, the babe seems to know who they are and warms to them almost automatically. Seeing the babe with her grandparents is truly a beautiful thing.

-No matter how hard I try, I will eventually revert to a less mature version of myself when I return to my parent's home. No offence to my husband, but I find that both of us have flare-ups of our former, younger selves, despite the fact that we're in our 30s, are married, and have a child. Maybe going home just reminds us of who we used to be, or maybe being with our parents makes us feel younger than we really are. I'm not sure why it happens, all I know is that it never appears to last because we return to our lives and turn back into the people we were before we left.

-I enjoy the space at my parents place immensely (both inside and outside). Their property backs on national parkland, or the "back 40" as my Dad always says. My father, the babe and I went on a marvelous walk last Friday and it was perfect. Just look at the picture. Who knows why I didn't appreciate it as a teenager. I'd love to have something similar for the babe one day. The "back 40" is pretty different from the alley way we currently have behind our home.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Those Perfect Days

Autumn is my favorite season. The weather has finally shifted in Washington, DC, which is a major relief. For the past 3 work days (the days my husband is at work, that is), I have gone on a 3 mile walk with the babe and it has been a beautiful thing. We have headed in the Georgetown direction every time as it is so scrumptious when the leaves are changing and people have their Halloween decorations out.

It is the babe's first Autumn and I am so glad I am home to spend it with her. After being trapped in air conditioning for the whole summer, it is such a relief to get outside and be free from the oppressive heat. It's also such a pleasure to not be stuck in an office for my favorite season.

My long walks are providing me a chance to clear my head, get some exercise and fresh air. Although today my walk provided me with some ice cream from Thomas Sweet and new eyebrows at Aveda (please note that it was the first time in over a year I have gotten my eyebrows done!).

I know these perfect days won't last forever, but for now I'm counting my many blessings.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Grade 2 Test Scores

Last night, after putting the babe to sleep, I got stuck on the couch in front of the computer. I don't know how it happened as I was planning on taking my shower and going to sleep (which would have been a smart move as the babe ended up crying for an hour and a half in the middle of the night, again). But the Internet can be a seductive thing. So, my husband and I spent a nice chunk of time surfing around looking up facts and stats about Montgomery County (Maryland).

As I've mentioned, my new hobby is real estate. We have gone out with my Realtor friends twice now and have seen about 8 places. The babe has been pretty delightful as she's hauled in and out of her car seat to check these houses out. I've decided I like the Silver Spring area (in Montgomery County and on the metro line) as an option. I was getting rather depressed seeing what money will buy you in DC proper. Even though the housing market is on a downward trend in the US, Washington is still up there in terms of prices. Despite the fact that sellers are getting desperate and prices are going down, I still don't know how anyone affords to buy in safe and reasonably close in neighborhoods.

Last night, for the first time, we became the people who look up second grade test scores of Montgomery County Public Schools elementary school students. We have to make sure that wherever we buy, the schools are going to be a place we feel comfortable sending the babe. District lines are an important thing to consider if you don't want to end up sending your kid to private school. We are not private school kinda people, and that's why we need to pay more to be in a district with good public schools. That just makes decision making a whole lot more difficult.

She's only 10 months old now, but one day she is going to go off to prekindergarten. One day she's going to be in elementary school. And one day she'll be in high school (you get where I'm going here). As much as we see her as a baby now (because she still is technically a baby for another 2 months), things are going to change and we need to be ready. I suppose buying a home in a safe neighborhood with good schools is part of being ready. But after seeing what I've seen on the market, winning the lottery would certainly help us in the "being ready" department.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mange, Mange

My local Safeway grocery store has a sad, sad, sad collection of baby food. I dropped by today to pick up some more apple sauce, as I can not seem to keep this particular food item stocked. The organic apple sauce was 10 for $6.00. There were 9 containers left and I took them all. I have come to realize that shopping for baby food at what we refer to as the "Soviet Safeway" is not a viable option on most days. It just takes one mommy (me) to wipe out their entire collection of apple sauce. I guess that says something about our neighborhood.

On another note, we have come to LOVE Cheerios. After our standard 7 days of introduction (food allergies), the babe is in love with them and so am I. I dump a bunch on her high chair's tray and she keeps herself easily amused by stuffing them in her mouth, pushing them around and dropping the ones that don't make it into her mouth onto the floor. Good times.

We do not, however, love chicken. The babe turned 10 months old yesterday so I thought it was time to try a little meat. Bad idea. She ate the liquid chicken and sweet potato concoction happily. A few hours later she had a serious vomiting session (in the playzone) that took us by surprise. We'll put meat on hold for a while longer and stick with the yummy tofu mixed in with veggies option (and apple sauce, of course).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I'll Pass on the Edamame, Thanks

No more edamame for me. After almost 10 months of breastfeeding, you'd think I'd have worked that out. Not quite.

The week started off strong with some spectacular sleeping. The babe pulled one six hour stint in her crib, and then upped it to 8 hours straight the next night. But all good things must come to an end. After 2 great nights, we had a bad one with the babe up crying for a solid hour. What was it, we wondered? Teething?

The next night she was up for 2 hours farting and crying (a sad combination). After about an hour of this wacky behavior, the babe and I moved to the spare room to try and calm down and get some rest. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I'd done differently. After much blurry thought (it was, after all, 1:00am), I realized I had consumed edamame on both days. Here I was trying to be healthy, but really just causing the babe serious gastrointestinal grief.

Sometimes I wonder if it really is healthier for me to be breastfeeding her with all the pain I cause her when I choose the wrong food or beverage. My goal is to reach the one year recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and I know we'll get there. It just can be difficult to isolate that one thing that was the wrong thing. It's trial and error I suppose, and these things take time (like at least 10 months, apparently).

Last night she slept for 7 hours straight in her crib (I even splurged on a delicious Kennebunkport pumpkin ale after putting her to sleep). Good to know we are back on the upswing. If you'll recall, we've only recently begun to master this sleep thing, and I'd really hate to mess it up.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The New Kind of Mommy

For any of you interested in the issues surrounding the working versus staying at home dilemma, you should definitely check out my friend's cover story, The New Mommy Track, in US News & World Report at: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/070826/

Kim has done an amazing job at capturing what's going on out there.

Pennies, Beds and Paper

No one is perfect and there is no all inclusive course on how to be the perfect parent. Sometimes we have to make mistakes to learn. I have recently made a few of them.

In the past two weeks, I've found a penny in my daughter's hand, caught her just as she was about to fall head first off our king size bed (which used to seem so big), and pulled out a wad of paper she had managed to shove into her mouth as I held her. I am not going to beat myself up over these things because as I just mentioned above, I am not perfect.

When life is good, we tend to take things for granted as we happily cruise along. But one minute can change everything. One minute (or less) is long enough for you to stop paying attention and end up in the Emergency Room. Most of my new mommy friends have already had a visit there (including me), and it's not a place you really want to go.

The babe usually hangs out in her pack n play in our bedroom while I putter around. Sometime my clothes will end up thrown over the side of the pack n play because I am too tired or lazy to put them away. A skirt I had recently worn was carelessly thrown over the side the other day. I went to pick the babe up to change her diaper and found a penny in her hand. That's very bad, right? A serious choking hazard. The change in my pocket must have spilled out into the play pen and ended up in her hands. I sifted through the toys and found a lot more change, including quarters (larger than pennies!). I've read the chapter on what to do when your baby is choking in the American Academy of Pediatrics book, but am not sure I would have remembered if she had been choking and turning blue. No more change in pockets.

Another common accident is falling off the bed. I was grabbing something from the closet (very close to the bed) last week. I had left the babe in the middle of the bed as I quickly turned around to grab whatever it was that I needed (I don't even remember). When I headed back towards the bed a second later, she had managed to crawl (super rapidly) to the edge of the bed and was about to go over head first. I caught her just in time. I don't think my heart has ever beat that fast. I was pretty upset about it all day. It was careless of me to put her on the bed when I could have just as easily plopped her in the pack n play (without change). This will not happen again.

And my last story is about paper. The babe LOVES to play with paper. As I was having a little picnic with a friend last Monday, the babe was rifling through the front pocket of my purse. She found a piece of paper which I didn't think would be a problem as I was holding her while she sat on top of the picnic table. People (like me) can get pretty distracted as they tell stories, and I got distracted. Next thing I know, the babe is choking. I quickly opened her mouth and fished out some paper. Not good. What is even more embarrassing is the fact that my husband had just given her an envelope to play with a few days earlier and she had stuck it in her mouth and yep, you guessed it, choked. I have now learnt my lesson twice on this one. Paper is bad. As fun as it may seem, it is bad.

Every parent has their stories, and every parent beats themselves up over them. We aren't perfect and we can't always protect our little ones from harm. But we can certainly do our best to minimize potential accidents, and that includes avoiding some of the situations I've mentioned above. Happy parenting!