Monday, March 24, 2008

Insult + Injury

I woke up this morning with a weird feeling I hadn't had since I was a kid - my eyes felt like they had sand in them and my left eye was so goopy it was almost sealed shut. (Hey, you don't want to hear this stuff, go read a blog about garden gnomes: mothering involves a lot of fluids),

Pink eye... ewww! And, of course, Thomas is still sick and so am I, so the thought of hauling both the children into the car to the drugstore and back is too much to bear. (Check out this great you tube video: so funny). My normal back-up plan (mum! dad!) has also been felled by this nasty cold.

So I heed a little of my own advice and take the plunge: I express a little breastmilk into a cup and use a dropper to put it in my eyes. (I told you... if you can't take it, find a gnome blogger)

And amazingly, it feels better right away. Like a lot better and it doesn't sting at all like the drops do. I've done it a couple times through the day and feel much better.

When Dan got home, he couldn't even tell, except that I made him listen to the various complaints I had after I brought him up to date on pending grievances from the children (the fish has no food and Isabelle would like to play in the (frozen poop-filled) backyard).

It's quite amazing to me that this really works for grown-up sized eye infections, but also I find it ironic that my breasts can make this amazing elixir and my eyes just can't deal with it themselves.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Having my cake...

A little known fact about me is that I have a skill for making kid's birthday cakes. It's not actually so hard when you have the equipment, but it's wicked time-consuming, so I haven't made lots in the past few years.

Really, to make an impressive centerpiece, you just need a good pan and some patience. My first foray into this was for my godson, Dylan's 1st birthday.

The next one I made was a variation on the bear: a bee for Dylan's little brother, Nicholas. It was pretty cute, despite the fact that the wings kept falling off and the black icing was kind of gross in that quantity.

The next time was for Isabelle's first birthday - no mean feat with a nursing 1 year old:

And my latest creation was for Thomas' 1st birthday. Gee, you wonder why I look tired and hyperglycemic?

Have a look at Wilton's website - a lot of the cakes could be made with standard cake pans, it's just a lot more math to do and you need a steadier hand. You definitely don't need all the fake stuff - I use a regular buttercream or cream cheese icing (yum....), oil and flour my pans as normal (just very carefully) and take my time. One thing you probably do have to buy is the black icing - you could skip it, but I don't think it's feasible to make black buttercream.

Isabelle has requested a princess cake this year - will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Snurffle, snurffle...

Ah, the spring cold.... an annual event 'round here where we don't do a lot of sickness (warnings about the onslaught pre-school would bring haven't panned out, yet). But the good news is that it's a spring cold and the tide is turning on all this snow.

It starts with a visit to the home of friends we affectionately call the Petri Dishes. Their home is warm and welcoming - and apparently, chock full of pathogens because a runny nose always follows a visit.

Then, Isabelle gets cranky and Thomas' eyes look just a touch red-rimmed. Then, just a trickle of clear mucous signals that the immune battle has begun. I've never really been big on giving little people medicine and the recent warnings about this have just underlined my institinctive feeling.

In fairness, pre-pregnancy and nursing, I was known to down copious quantities of the stuff. But I had to get to work and Isabelle doesn't need cold relief to watch Toopie & Binoo. Popsicles and honey have been doing just fine.

But the snot (like the plot) thickens and Thomas gifts me with an enormous wad of it when he sneezes out the blueberries I was handing him. As I wipe it off my cheek with my sleeve, it occurs to me that I have come a long way since our first cold... Maybe too long....

Day three and Isabelle gets ornery... I am not doing my best mothering. Treehouse TV is on a constant loop, the menu consist of apple slices, peanut butter and toast and the dog is looking at me with that "Dude, do you even remember that I need to be fed?". I want to just lie down, but there's no point.

It's time to call in the big guns... my mama. Mum shows up, changes the children into actual clothing (pjs have ruled) and waters, feeds and plays with them (and the dog, who loves her unconditionally and far more than he loves us: she feeds him). All while I sleep...

It will be better tomorrow... better be: we've got Easter eggs to make, a birthday to plan and school's back next week. Hmmm.... Mum always did great Easter eggs...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A little self pat on the back

The busyness of the last while has been in part due to an unexpected uptick in media requests about the site. It's tough for a little business to send product samples off to the wide blue yonder and cross her fingers that it will at least get opened, but we've had great feedback.

Here are a few of the recent ones:

I've also been quoted on the parenting side recently, the one that's most touching is below. It's amazing to me how raw it is still is to share that story and how hard it is to see in print, but I hope someone reads it and takes something away from it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mothering the mama

The arrival of a new baby, whether it is the first or fifth, marks an enormous transition in the family unit, but also in each individual’s life. Mom has gone through a major physical event and baby is learning about a whole new reality! The best advice is for everyone to keep in mind how enormous this transition really is and go easy on themselves and each other in the early weeks.

Making things easy is good theme to keep in mind when preparing for the birth. Mom should have nothing to worry about but her new baby and her own recovery – this is very important in establishing a healthy breastfeeding relationship and everything else should remain secondary. See this as a very brief period in a life-long investment for good health. Investing in a comfortable baby carrier will let Mom have her hands-free while baby remains secure – helping to offset the sometimes overwhelming constant needs of a newborn.

To help the rest of the family cope, frozen meals and take-out are a good start. A “casserole” shower before baby is born is a great idea.

Ensuring that older siblings feel included in the new arrival is very important to minimizing the inevitable resentment. Toy slings make a wonderful gift, making older siblings feel included while modeling the importance of baby’s closeness to Mom.

Outside help, whether in the form of relatives or paid help, can be a boon or a curse. Anyone coming to help needs to remember that they are there for Mom and Dad – not to swoon over the new arrival (hard as that is!). Mom may be feeling insecure and overwhelmed – too many suggestions about baby care may feel undermining. Even more dangerously, offering to feed baby just a bottle of formula while she sleeps sounds helpful, but in the long-run, it may damage her ability to breast-feed. Do laundry, cook meals, tidy up and play with kids, but leave the mothering of baby to Mom.

If hiring outside help such a doula, be sure to get references and interview well ahead of baby’s arrival, so that expectations are perfectly clear. Doulas can be found through their professional association,

A handy listing

It's been busy around here...

I wanted to share a great resource I recently found on the Breastfeeding Canada yahoo group: an easy-reference bibliography of breastfeeding-positive children's books. I've seen these before, but this is really well done.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

And baby makes four...

With Thomas' recent birthday, I've been reflecting a bit on the transition to little ones and looking back on it with a bit more space (and sanity).

Older siblings will often regress in their behavior, wanting to nurse or drink from a bottle if they had previously given it up or being less reliable in their potty training. In addition, older siblings will often become clingier, to one or both parents or even adopt a transitional object, like a blanket or stuffed toy, when they had never shown interest before. Isabelle definitely did all of these - adopting "Bear" as her nighttime companion.

Parents can make the transition more difficult on everyone when they do not recognize what an enormous change the older child has undergone. Understanding and compassion, along with time, will restore household peace and help forge the lifetime bond that siblings will share.

A tried-and-true tip is to have an extra-special gift for the older sibling that the new baby “brought” for them. Make believe play is very powerful to young children: older siblings should have their own “baby” and gear to mimic mom and dad. This “baby” also gives them an outlet to play out their frustrations safely. Finally, everyone will benefit if mom has a good comfortable baby carrier so that she can meet baby’s need for closeness while having her hands-free for play. There are even great matching slings for both mom and siblings. These make a wonderful shower gift - older siblings will be very proud.

In human development, there are no absolutes and very little is inevitable: parents can expect their children to react to the addition of a new sibling as they would to any major event. A happy, go-lucky kid is likely to adjust pretty quickly, irrespective of their age or gender. Conversely, a child who is resistant to changes in routine or highly sensitive to noise is likely to have more difficulty. Go easy on yourselves and each other – it’s a joyful journey once all your little travelers get along.