Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas: Just the 3 of us

This year it was just the three of us again for Christmas. We were all sick and Tristan was quite contagious. To mark the occasion, we made our traditional Christmas meal. I like turkey but Jean-Louis doesn't so we had both a small turkey and small ham. The problem was we couldn't cook them together since our roasters were too large to fit in the oven. Because of this, it took about 3 hours longer to prepare the meal. We also had stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean salad, and apple-cranberry streudel. Everything was homemade this time :) Well, we bought our pumpkin pie but we actually ate that for breakfast. It has been four days since Christmas and we are still eating leftovers!

We dressed up a little more than usual so that we could take some nice pictures. Tristan looked all festive! It's too bad he was feeling rotten. We were lucky enough to capture some decent shots so I'm happy :)

There were no decorations this year. Again :( Next year we promise to decorate since Tristan will be 2 and may actually enjoy them. I already bought some decorations from the recent Boxing Day sale so we'll definitely have no excuse now! Celebrating Christmas will really be for him and I hope to make it special next year. I think it's important to create a magical experience for kids during the holidays. Those will be the fond memories they carry with them throughout life. I really think so. Let's cross our fingers we don't get sick next Christmas.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rash from the common cold virus

Tristan developed a rash all over his body a few days ago. It scared us that morning when we found his entire back, forehead, and neck was covered in red patches. His body was covered too but it wasn't as dense. Jean-Louis thought it was the chicken pox. In fact, he woke me up that morning saying that Tristan had chicken pox. I thought it might have been a heat rash. Others thought it was a heat rash too when I described it.

We went to a nearby walk-in clinic that day on Saturday and the doctor diagnosed it as a common cold rash. He said it must have started on Thursday since I noticed a bit of it on Friday. The doctor says that if you get it, you only get it once in your lifetime. As adults, most of us have already gotten it. It is contagious and can spread easily among young children. Once the rash goes away, Tristan will have antibodies for them. It's so strange I didn't know about this before. Maybe we all had this as babies when we got sick and don't remember any of it? Normally, the rash lasts maybe 5 days. We were told to treat Tristan with a bath using Aveeno soothing baby bath treatment. It is also important for him not to get too hot since that makes the rash worst and to keep him hydrated. We followed all the recommendations and we're pleased to say that the doctor was right :) Tristan's rash is pretty much all gone now! Now all we have to get rid off is his nasty cough and runny nose.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baby has a fever and is not himself today

Today is definitely an off day for the baby. Even when he experienced his first cold, he was still playing and getting himself into trouble. He woke up with a fever this morning and went to bed tonight with a fever as well. I started to give him Tylenol in the late morning. For most of the day, he has been very mellow and sleepy. He barely ate anything for lunch but lucky he did eat at dinner.

He normally cat naps twice a day for about 15-20 minutes each time but today, he slept on and off starting from 1PM. He slept for maybe 30 minutes and then I tried to give him a snack. When he refused, I just let him play in his highchair but to my surprise, he was falling asleep! I didn't keep track but he must have slept at least 30 minutes in the highchair. After that, I let him out to play but he would touch a few things and then just lay on the ground. He didn't sleep at first but then he dozed off again! I would have thought he would be even more cranky and fussy if he didn't feel well. Seeing him all mellow and not wanting to do anything worries me even more. Throughout the day, he had a temperature of around 38.5 C. I took his temperature under his armpit. It's definitely a fever so if this continues for more than 48 hours, I'll go to the walk-in clinic.

Whenever the baby is not well, I always try to figure out what happened. Jean-Louis and I have recently acquired itchy throats and are coughing so it could be us. Actually, Jean-Louis has been sort of coughing for about a week now. When we went to daycare last Friday, I noticed one of the staff members were sick and a couple of kids were coughing. We were not in a lot of contact with any of them but it's possible we caught something just being in the room. My nephew was coughing a lot and we had dinner with him and his family on Sunday. Or maybe I under dressed the baby at home? He was fine yesterday and we have been in the house for 48 hours. I find it peculiar that we are all feeling a bit sick because we all had our flu shots. Tristan had his shots about two weeks ago. None of what we have or what he has should be the common cold. Of course, there are still risks of getting sick even with the seasonal flu shot. Maybe we would all be a lot worst if we didn't get vaccinations.

Could it be teething? No, it can't be. He is teething but he was fine all the past times and we didn't even give him Tylenol at all. Ok, I'm going to stop guessing. Hopefully, things will be more or less back to normal tomorrow. Too bad I'm not breastfeeding anymore. He certainly could use my antibodies now.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Daycare preview week

Gradual entry week is now over. On our next visit, Tristan will actually be attending daycare.

The week went well. It was definitely a nice change of scenery for him. He was touching, exploring, and interacting with everything and everyone in sight. The biggest difference was that I was able to actually sit down and watch. No yelling necessary and no chasing after him so it was a bit of a vacation for me :) Even though it was a bit of a hassle to get dressed and pack him lunch, it was worth the trip.

It may seem like the same old thing every day but there are always stories to tell. Today, one of the babies got sent home for having a fever and not eating anything. Her mom came in to pick her up while one of the staff went through the sick form and procedure with her. More Christmas gifts arrived for the staff members from another baby's parent. It seems like all the parents are giving gifts to the caregivers. That makes sense. It got me thinking about how we could show our appreciation for taking care of Tristan down the road. While I am home, I can definitely bring in homebaked goods. Would that be sucking up? I wonder if the staff favors children whose parents are very nice to them.

All the staff members are telling me that Tristan seems like he will fit in easily. Today, they were impressed with how much he ate by himself. I have to admit, I made it fairly easy by packing him easy foods I knew he would eat. His lunch included leftover beef stew mush with cheese wrapped in a tortilla and then pinched into finger size pieces, chunks of yam, and peas. This was followed by cubed cheese and a mix of fruit.

The staff was also impressed that Tristan didn't cry at all when they changed him. I didn't even think about it but I guess they have seen enough kids to tell that Tristan will be fairly easy compared to other babies. I am very relieved to hear it :) I want this to be as easy a transition for him as possible. Since I have no immediate plans to go back to work, I will only leave him there part time even though we are paying for a full time spot. I will stay with him for a hour or so the first day as well. After that, we will just see how it goes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gradual entry into day care

This week we are introducing Tristan to day care a few hours each day. We started going yesterday and so far, there doesn't seem to be any problems. Yes, I am there with him so he doesn't flip out but I try to wander around and I let him do the same. He only clung onto me a few times but it was around the time of his nap and he hasn't been sleeping too well lately. We can clearly see two more teeth coming out so that may have something to do with it too. Some of the day care workers mentioned that they think he will be okay when I leave him at day care. I sure hope so.

The day care is pretty laid back. It's too cold right now and since a lot of the kids don't walk very well, none of them will go outside. They basically just roam around the room and play with various toys and interact with the staff members. There are 8 infants in the group and at least 2 staff members there at all times. They have to maintain the 4 to 1 ratio. From what I can observe, there are usually more on the floor, some times even 5 people since some of the staff from the other group come by to sit around too. Currently, there is a girl that is being trained there as well so there will always be 3 staff.

In a way, it is so strange being there. It's a bit boring because all you do is sit around all day, unless there is something to do like feeding or changing diapers. I think what it is is that the place is baby proof so you don't ever have to get up to chase babies away from things that could be dangerous. That is sort of what makes my life harder being at home alone. The staff interacts with the kids by reading to them, cuddling with them, singing, or whatever and some times they even just socialize with other staff members. Things are under control and the pace is rather slow. Pretty much everything we stay-at-home moms do, they do. Because of the nap schedule, it's rare that all 8 infants are up at the same time. During the lunch period, they are all expected to be up and eating together and that is the most hectic time of the day. I never really thought about what a day would be like at day care so I didn't know what to expect.

I'm running out of questions to ask so I'm not sure what to do with myself for the rest of the week. I think I will just try to encourage Tristan to play more with the others. I know he can play well independently but I want him to learn how to share and play with others. I could try to interact with the other kids more too but then I would just feel like one of the staff members. Some times, I feel like maybe I should ask if they need help with anything but I don't think that should be my role. I should probably just stay out of it and be more of an observer. Man, If I feel like this, I can't imagine Jean-Louis doing this with Tristan :) He would feel totally uncomfortable and totally out of place and want to end gradual entry after a day!

Here is a summary of what I have observed so far:

PROS
  1. Friendly staff
  2. Staff doesn't lose their cool (ever!)
  3. Babies get to do crafts
  4. Staff uses baby sign
  5. Lots of small toys and books
  6. Don't see anyone using their cell phones or tech gadgets
  7. Baby kisses are given on their neck or heads
  8. Highchairs are spray cleaned and disinfected after each child

CONS
  1. No one takes off their shoes in the room and a lot of babies are crawling
  2. Only 4 highchairs in the room
  3. The room is pretty small and they stay in it all day
  4. Strollers need to be parked outside the building (due to fire hazard)
  5. Don't see water being offered to children regularly

I'll report some more by the end of the week. I kind of feel like a spy. I have never done this before so it's a learning experience for me too. I hope Tristan will interact with everyone and become more comfortable with all the staff members by the end of the week. It's a nice change for him this week to be out and playing with others. If anything, I hope he has a good time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby can't talk but he can sign some

We are still waiting for Tristan's first true word. He babbles right now and noises such as mama, dada, and a bunch of others come out but he doesn't know what any of them mean. Apparently, Jean-Louis was a late talker but I don't know about myself.

We started to sign to the baby when he turned six months and we still are but two months ago we sort have slowed down. Now that he is 1 year old and beginning to understand more, we're trying to sign more again. A lot of time we just forget to do it. It has been over six months now and I think he is making a lot of progress in the signing department. Here are the signs he has been consistently doing for us with an understanding of what they mean:
  • more
  • milk
  • ball
  • clean
  • bed (sleep is harder so he signs bed when he is tired)
These are the questionable signs:
  • sun
  • book
  • eat or food
Signs we did not teach him but he is coming up with himself:
  • self (he pats himself with his hand)
  • diaper change please (he touches or squeezes his diaper from underneath)
  • smelly (we all fan away the stinky smell by our nose)
He also sort of understands some of the words we say even though he cannot repeat them himself. Here are some that I have noticed:
  • doggie
  • train
  • water
  • pillow
  • "give to Mommy"
  • music
  • no (to some degree)
So far so good! It's definitely nice to have him communicate with us even before he can speak. Our favorite is when he can tell us he is tired or when he wants his milk :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

12 month vaccination day

Today, we took Tristan to the doctors for his 1 year vaccinations. He got poked four times, one in each limb. The ones in the arms hurt more since they have to be in the skin so those were done after the legs. Poor baby :( That is the most he has ever had in one visit. Like most of his past shots, he took them quite well. He cried initially and then stopped. At the end of it all, you can kind of sense that he was learning and he had this fear in his eyes whenever we grabbed his arm or leg. Now, we have to wait until at least June 1, 2010 for his 18 month shots.

During the day, he has been a bit crankier than usual. I gave him Tylenol twice so that should do it. It also didn't help that he went for his shots during his usual nap time. He was so tired afterward that he actually fell asleep in his highchair as I was feeding him his yogurt and fruits during lunch. I cut the lunch short and put him down in his crib. Because he only had the one nap today, that could also explain his crankiest tonight. We decided to put him to bed 15 minutes earlier. Tomorrow, I am interested to see how this will affect his mobility. If he is sore, he may not want to walk as much, which would be great for us :) I just don't think we would be that lucky.

I was surprisingly calm taking him to the doctors. I guess because we have all had so many shots lately that it seemed like another routine visit. Two nights ago, Jean-Louis and I had our H1N1 and seasonal flu shots. The shots themselves did not hurt. About 5 hours after, we both started to feel soreness in our arms, especially the side with the H1N1 vaccine. The morning after, I was super sore and felt like I was getting a bit sick. Apparently, all this is normal and may last a couple of days. After all, they do inject you with the disease so that your body can recognize and fight it the next time you encounter it. Well, that is sort of the idea behind vaccines. It's just so uncomfortable not being able to sleep on your sides because both sides hurt. That first morning, I actually felt so awful I had to take Tylenol. Now aside from sore arms, I'm fine. I think my body is broken from pregnancy and birth since I can't explain how I have become so fragile. So this week, the entire family is experiencing aches from vaccinations together! Next week, will be Tristan's turn again: his second doses of the flu vaccines :(

Monday, November 30, 2009

Breastfeeding was a wonderful experience

My decision to stop breastfeeding was a hard one. I guess I just wasn't quite ready to give it up. It's strange really. It's as though one day I couldn't wait for it to end and the next day I would be totally bummed when the baby refused it. This whole breastfeeding journey was a bag of mixed emotions. I never quite realized how good I had it and how happy I was to have it until it was taken away from me. I never really appreciated breastfeeding and mostly just regarded it as something I should be doing and is healthy for both of us. Now that I think about it, it was wonderful spending quiet time cuddling with the baby while he drank my milk.

Over the past year, we became really attached over breastfeeding and I suppose I'm also going through separation anxiety now that he is rejecting me. I tried to breastfeed him for over 4 days now, without any luck. I would pump each time but each time there would be even less milk. I'm drying up and so instead of feeling sad and hoping for some kind of miracle each time, I think it's time to move on. Now without the breastfeeding, I sort of view him as a big boy. He is no longer the little baby I used to know. I mean, he still drinks milk from a bottle but he is just growing up so quickly. He will always be my little baby but, you know.

I never anticipated my end to breastfeeding would be so gloomy. I guess it is also because this is very likely going to be the end of my breastfeeding days forever too since Tristan will probably be our only child. Knowing that, I am even more grateful for having been able to breastfeed him for a year. Breastfeeding truly is a blessing and although challenging and painful, it is absolutely the greatest feeling to be able to provide your own milk for your baby.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Baby is on a nursing strike

Tristan does not want to be breastfed. 48 hours ago he started to freak out each time I would put him into position to feed. At first, it was just one side but now it is both sides. This has happened before but his refusal is much more aggressive this time around. I tweeted about it and was told by @AmberStrocel that he is likely on a nursing strike and that it is very common. Apparently, if it is really time to wean him, that would happen gradually over weeks or months. If he suddenly stops nursing, then it is probably a nursing strike. After reading more related stories on nursing strikes, I would have to agree that Tristan is on a nursing strike.

The question now is how long will I allow him to be on strike before I decide it is time to stop breastfeeding him? Most nursing strikes last for 2 to 4 days and it has already been 2 days for me. In the meantime, I am pumping milk so that my milk supply is still available when he goes off strike. I am still trying to nurse him at our usual times but it has been refusal after refusal. I always attempt both sides, then I try again in a different location like on the floor or in a different room. Nothing has worked. To be honest, I am feeling a bit depressed from it.

This whole breastfeeding journey has been an emotional roller coaster for me. Actually, it wasn't as difficult to learn as I anticipated but I had to endure a lot of pain. I had tons of blisters, breast infections, breast yeast infections, sickness for myself and the baby, and now I discover that this is the baby's second nursing strike. He actually started to freak out a bit just at the sight of the nursing chair tonight! I'm beginning to think he will never want to breastfeed again.

I find it surprising how I became so attached to breastfeeding. At first, the whole idea was a bit strange to me and I wasn't even sure if I would be comfortable doing it. Now that I have been doing it for so long, I can't seem to let go. I have already kept it up way longer than 6 months, which was my initial target. After that milestone, I said I would breastfeed as long as Tristan still wanted it and when the first nursing strike hit, I still persisted. I guess it really is that important to me. Or I just don't like to feel rejected. I don't think I could be one of those mom that could bare a nursing strike for weeks. Tristan is eating a lot of solids so I'm not too worried about him losing much weight. His consumption of milk is quite low but it has always been like that though. So the plan right now is to continue trying and pumping for another 48 hours, in the hopes that he will return to me. Hopefully, next time I blog, it will be with good news!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just got accepted into daycare

Tristan will be starting daycare at the Burnaby Children's Centres Society on January 2nd, 2010. He will be there full time as part of their Infant group (ages 3 months to 18 months). I would have preferred part time but this was the only one available so we're taking it :) I wait listed Tristan since he was around 3 months old, which means it took 9 months to get him in! Out of the three places I wait listed him at, this is my first choice. It is only a 10 minute walk from our home and when I toured the place back in March, I really liked it. It is a group daycare and they are very organized and professional. They are also quite expensive; it will cost us $1110 every month.

With just over a month until he goes off to daycare, I'm already thinking ahead. What will I do with all that spare time? Well, first of all, anything can happen work-wise for me (or not). I may apply for a few contracts or jobs but if there isn't anything for me, I will do more consulting and I have lots of personal work to do that could keep me very busy for a couple of months.

Will I still breastfeed? Yes. Right now, I am only feeding first thing in the morning and again at night. Breastfeeding should not interfere with daycare at all.

Will I be ok dropping him off every day? I think so. I already went through it once so I think I should be fine the second time around. But I could be wrong. I also feel like he is a bit more independent now since he can walk, play more, and interact with people better. When we left him at daycare in September, all he could do was crawl. By January, Tristan will have had all his vaccinations as well. We're bringing him in for his 12 month shots early December and then his second dose of H1N1 and the seasonal flu shot maybe a week after that. This will definitely give us peace of mind knowing that he is protected in daycare. Both Jean-Louis and I will also have our flu shots by then too.

Will I miss Tristan? Big YES. But it will be great for both of us. In fact, I'm getting excited at the thought of the big changes in January :) Being a stay at home mom has been quite the amazing experience but I'm ready to work again and build on my career. Life is about to get a lot more exciting for all of us!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Baby's 1st Birthday Party!!!

The party went well - phew! The baby was well rested before the party started, the food turned out, and everyone got to relax, including myself at the end :) The end result? Baby got to socialize, eat new food, play with new toys, lots of pictures and videos for me to process, and lots of leftover food for the week.

It all went off to a late start since we fell behind in our preparation and everyone arrived 30 minutes to an hour or so late. I was actually really pleased at all the late arrivals as a result :) The party was just one big feast and chit chat event. There were no games or speeches, although maybe I should have made a small speech and talked about Tristan and how our year had been. It would have been nice to capture that on video. Oh well. We had lots of food, there was music, Tristan had his separate lunch, we took pictures, cut the cake, and opened presents. Did I mention there was a lot of food? It seemed like our guests only made a dent in all the food too! It was a good thing I cut back on my original menu. The only home cooked thing I made was the spinach dip & cut veggies, seafood stir-fry udon noodles, and cliantro-yogurt dip.





PARTY FOOD MENU

Appetizers:
  • Spinach dip with sourdough bread & assorted veggies
  • Baked popcorn chicken
  • Original potato chips

Main dish:
  • Seafood stir-fry udon noodles
  • Samosas with cliantro-yogurt dip
  • Soy chicken
Pop, sparkling juice


Dessert:
  • Triple Chocolate Tiger Cake
  • Taro Cake


It was the battle of the cakes! We're still in disagreement today about which one we should have gotten. We both agree it is silly to get two. Jean-Louis wanted the taro cake and I wanted the triple chocolate tiger cake. I always think of the cake as a nice decorative piece for a party and the cakes at Save-On Foods have really nice themes. We both chose sesame street as the theme and after the cake is eaten the figurines on top become toys. Nice, huh? As well as being tasty since it's triple chocolate, it is a very cute cake! Ok, so the taro cake is pretty too but in comparison, it's not as cute. I love taro cake too but I just thought the other was more appropriate for a kids birthday. Jean-Louis still disagrees!

For Tristan, we fed him whole eggs for the first time. I scrambled them with some herbs and cheddar cheese. Compared to what he is used to eating, this was a big treat for him! Just as I suspected, he ate it like a hungry ghost. Then I gave him a Babybel cheese and some steamed apple for dessert. No, he didn't have any of his birthday cake. Jean-Louis and I are very strict with him when it comes to food. He is not allowed any sweets until he turns two! Next birthday baby!

Tristan was shy during the party and was clingy to his Daddy. I was in the kitchen a lot since I was responsible for the food. Everyone was calling him a Daddy's boy. I'm sure Jean-Louis liked that :) To think just months ago, they didn't like each other at all. Things sure have changed.

Toys, clothes, money... there was a bit of everything for Tristan. He even took part in all the unwrapping of his gifts too. He just loves to rip paper and destroy things so it was amusing.

Once again, we are a bit relieved to have pulled off another big party. It's hard since our place is small and with Tristan it is hard to do anything aside from our everyone routine. One thing I wished I did more of was take more command of the camera. Since Jean-Louis and I had to host, we tried getting other people to take pictures and film for us. I have seen the pictures but we didn't really get great pictures of Tristan alone or of the three of us. Not that the pictures sucked but I was hoping to get better ones anyway. Oh well, we can't have everything! So at the end of the day, I was a bit relieved that it was over and that everything went well. The planning and organizing was fun and it paid off. Until next year!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Tristan!

Our little baby is 1 year old today (sniff, sniff)! That also means we will no longer be celebrating his birth monthly anymore :( It's okay because every birthday will be a huge party, I promise :)

Tristan's birthday party will be held tomorrow since it's Saturday and all. He has just one little friend coming and the rest are Mommy and Daddy's friends :) Tonight, I will be preparing a few dishes that I can make ahead of time. Once Tristan is asleep, I will decorate the living room. My parents are coming over from Victoria tonight as well. Some people throw two parties: one with the family and one with friends. We're just throwing the one big party and throwing everyone in the mix. May be a little odd but we are having 2 birthday cakes! Yeah, that is a little odd too, I admit. We couldn't agree on the cake so we both chose one. The party is going to be awesome! The only thing I'm worried about is all the people around Tristan. I hope he doesn't get overstimulated by everything. We may have to take him upstairs for a little quiet time here and there.

Finally, I wanted to mark today's occasion with a two-picture comparison of Tristan from birth and present day. I picked photos that had similar expressions. Unfortunately, he does look a little sad in them. You can definitely tell it is him but look at the tremendous difference! Wow :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our first year experience with a baby

The first 3 months following the arrival of our first baby was the hardest. The first week was absolutely crazy. We had anywhere from 0-2 hours of sleep in the first few days and mid week we actually started to act a bit delusional. It's amazing what you can turn into with so little sleep. Emotions were also very high and I think the baby blues kicked in for both of us. When the beginning of the third week came along and Jean-Louis had to go back to work, I was scared and nervous to be alone with the baby. Then came all the crying. That lasted until at least 3 months. I can say with certainty that the first 3 months was absolutely the hardest.

We knew we were blessed with a new baby and we did our best to step up to the challenge but it was no fun. Without family or friends to count on, we were alone and it was scary. Taking care of the baby was not the only challenge. We were hardly able to take care of ourselves. We were sleep deprived and hardly had time to eat and also eat well. After we exhausted all of my frozen cooked food I had stocked up on prior to the birth, we ended up ordering pizza, or buying frozen food and canned food. We had to. We had no choice because we had to eat. Me especially because I was breastfeeding so much.

Things started to improve a lot into the 4th and 5th months. The baby got used to his routine and pretty much slept through the night (at least 5 hours straight), if we used the pacifier on him. He also became more responsive and started to smile and look and strike at toys. This feedback was really important and rewarding for us to see. At last!

At 6 months, things got even better. We introduced solid foods so Jean-Louis was able to help with the feedings. We decided to sleep train the baby and after just 2 weeks, we got him sleeping by himself. He slept through the night without any nursing, rocking, pacifier - nothing at all. Needless to say since then, we have been enjoying life a lot more :)

As the months went by, things improved even more. Tristan started to sit up, crawl, stand up, dance, and walk. Now, I find we are really starting to enjoy each others company. He laughs, he plays, he interacts with us, he is signing back and understands certain things that we say, even though he can't speak yet. He is sleeping for even longer periods during the night and that allows for us to stay up late again. But of course at this age, there are new things that we are finding frustrating such as feeding.

As it turns out, our baby is a typical baby. I wouldn't have it any other way but it's so interesting to see how much of a textbook baby he is. For example, now that he is a toddler, he is starting to show signs of throwing tantrums. Oh boy! But, whatever challenges are thrown our way moving forward, I honestly believe we can handle it because not only have we survived the first 3 months but we have also made it this far doing more or less what we were set out to do :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

A year ago, things were very different

Tristan's first birthday is fast approaching and excitement is starting to build. No, I cannot believe this time has come. What could be more important than the very first birthday? Nothing. The first of everything is the most exciting and the first birthday has got to be the greatest birthday. It will be a celebration for not just the baby but for us, being his parents. At 1 year, the baby won't even care but the day will be captured on camera and in video so that one day he will be able to look back and see that we made a very BIG deal out of his first birthday :) He will love us even more and think we're cool and awesome parents :)

It's crazy to think about what life was like just a year ago. I was extremely pregnant and so uncomfortable. I had just stopped working full time in October and we started shopping for baby things. I remember being so anxious to have the baby because I was so tired of being pregnant. My husband and I walked in the dark and rain after he got home from work every day. It was the pits. It was also the time I was trying to figure out when I could return back to work. At the time, I thought I would be ready to go back after 2-3 months. And of course, it was just the 2 of us, living a quiet life. Then came the labor and birth. OMG. Then followed the 1st month, then the 2nd month, then the 3rd month. OMG. I am so very glad not to be there anymore! I have never experienced anything harder in my life. Now fast forward to present day. Ahhhh... :) Our situation has improved 200%! Well, maybe not 200% but I'm just throwing a number out there to say that things are so much better now.

A baby changes everything. Really, it does. In every way imaginable, plus more. The good changes? Well, we have a baby and he puts smiles on our faces every day. We get to witness a miracle and watch him grow. We discovered a new kind of love: the love for your own child. We are now more empathetic towards other parents and more forgiving when we see or hear about difficult children. We became less selfish and appreciated life a little bit more.

But of course, every parent can also tell you that you have to make a lot of sacrifices and parenting is also super hard. When things get hard, I always tell Jean-Louis that it could be worst. That eases the pain a bit and helps make us feel a little more grateful. Sometimes, I don't think we have the right to complain since we got to enjoy seven great years of marriage just the two of us. But then again, we were so used to our old lifestyle that it was hard to give it up completely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mommy is taking over the feedings

Tristan has lost his appetite and he is not eating much or drinking much milk. It has become a power struggle to feed him anything. We refuse to feed him unhealthy things so if he doesn't eat, we just stop feeding him. Having said that, we do try and get him to eat what he will in a hour. We didn't used to have a time limit but now we do. He gets cranky if he has to stay in the highchair too long. If he doesn't finish his food, we just offer it in his next meal.

A good meal is when Tristan eats at least 50% of what we give him. Tonight, he ate about 5%. I didn't feed him since I wanted a break for a change so I let Jean-Louis do it. Needless to say I am much more effective at feeding Tristan and although I absolutely hate meal time these days, I have to take charge and do the feedings from now on or Tristan is going to lose weight. I am so frustrated! No one is to blame and I know Jean-Louis really tries during the feeding too. I pretty much have been helping him feed Tristan the past couple of weeks. Tonight I was fed up and so tired of it so I let him do it all. After I prepared the meal and placed it on the table, I just let him take over. After wards, I was just mad because Tristan pretty much skipped the meal. The hour was up so we just had to move on.

Believe me when I say that we have tried hard and tried everything. We have consulted books and looked online and it seems like a very common problem around this time. That doesn't make it less frustrating though. We prepare finger food for Tristan because he is happy eating that way. As he eats, we also finger feed him because he is picky and ends up chucking most of the food on the floor. This is how it goes. We give him the spoon to play with during meal time so he can learn how to use it. From what I can see, I think he is still far away from feeding himself with a spoon :(

I am happy to cook baby food but these days, we keep having leftovers and I find myself having to cook something new for him almost every day to keep it interesting. I am also starting to throw food away too and those that know me know how I hate to waste food. There you have it - I said hate twice in the same post!

Just to give you an idea of what we have been feeding him lately, the following is a list of what his meals consisted of today. Note, besides breakfast, he didn't eat everything we offered him. He also gets 2 sessions of breastmilk feeding and 1 bottle of formula.

BREAKFAST
  • 4-5 heaping tbsp Multigrain cereal (flavored with fruit)
  • 2 tbsp of plain high-fat yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp of cooked apple
  • water
  • 1 ml Vitamin D

LUNCH
  • 1 tbsp of tomato
  • 3-4 slices of chayotes
  • 2-3 tbsp of baked kabocha squash
  • 5 pieces of whole wheat rotini
  • small chunk of overcooked veal
  • few peas & corns
  • 1/5 slice of whole wheat bread
  • 1 tbsp of mozzarella
  • A few nutrios
  • water

DINNER
  • The leftover lunch (2 slices of chayotes, smaller chunk of veal, some tomato)
  • 3 tbsp tomato
  • 5 pieces of whole wheat rotini
  • 2 tbsp of overcooked lima beans
  • 1-2 tbsp of fruit (pomegranate seeds & banana)
  • water

Saturday, November 7, 2009

H1N1 and seasonal flu shots

As parents, we all know how miserable it is when your baby falls ill. If the baby is sick, they are cranky, they may not sleep well, or eat well, and are extra clingy. If that isn't bad enough, chances are you will catch their cold too and fall sick yourself. And being sick and haven't to take care of a sick baby is the worst of the worst things out there! So there you have it - we're not taking our chances and Tristan needs to be vaccinated against the flu.

Yesterday, we brought Tristan in to a public clinic that opened up in our neighborhood. They were administering H1N1 and seasonal flu shots. It's only the second week that the H1N1 vaccine has been available in Canada and this week Tristan falls under the priority group of children 6 months to 5 years. The H1N1 vaccine will probably open up to the general public in a week or two and that will be when Jean-Louis and I will get ours. We also plan to get the seasonal flu shot. We have never gotten the seasonal flu shot before but since we became parents, it has become much more important for us to stay well. I am especially concerned about myself since I can't explain how I could have fallen sick 3 times in the past 3 months. I am normally quite resistant to catching colds. I'm so tired of getting sick.

The clinic we went to was open from 9AM-3PM. We wanted to go early because we didn't want them to run out of vaccines. We heard about shortages in vaccines and long line ups so we were a bit worried. It started out exactly how I pictured it: lining up outside in the cold and freezing rain. I felt sorry for some of the parents and kids in the line up because they were all under dressed for the weather. It was no fun but once we got inside, things went quite well. Tristan received 2 pokes, 1 in each thigh. He cried on initial contact only. He was such a trooper :) Afterwards, we were instructed to sit down for 15 minutes to make sure he didn't have a reaction to the vaccine. The whole journey took about 2 hours and we got home around 12:45PM.

When we got home, we just continued on with the rest of our daily routine. Tristan seemed to be doing well so we didn't even bother giving him any Tylenol. We have been observing him and feeling for his temperature but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He went to sleep at his usual bedtime of 9PM. During the night, we noticed he had some difficulty staying asleep. This was unusual so I got Jean-Louis to check his temperature the second time he woke up. He felt a bit warm so we decided to give him some Tylenol around 2:30AM. After that, I held him for a bit until he fell asleep and then I put him down. That seemed to have done the trick and he slept until 8:30AM. In the morning, after his milk, we gave him a second dosage of Tylenol. After that, I think we more or less returned back to normal.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weaning the baby from breastmilk

For the past 3 days, I eliminated my afternoon feeding and gave Tristan a bit more formula milk and solid food. The thought of weaning still makes me sad but lately having to endure another cold without proper medication, a breast yeast infection, and now teeth clamping on my nipples, I actually think weaning would be great about now. I am down to just two feedings per day.

Honestly, I did not anticipate all the teeth clamping and biting. When Tristan's bottom teeth came out, he didn't bite me while I fed him and there was no problem at all. Now with his razor sharp big teeth coming out at the top, he can't help but clamp down while sucking. Apparently, he did it in the past without me knowing. I noticed some scars not too long ago. However, now his teeth is really starting to stick out and it hurts like hell when he clamps down! And at the same spot over and over - ouch! I'm losing some serious skin and possibly flush, I don't know. I actually tried to feed him at a different angle today but it wasn't effective. Grrr!

I remember a friend telling me that if the baby bites during breastfeeding, remove him, tell him, and try again. This is how you teach him not to bite on Mommy while feeding. My problem is that I didn't do that to start with so if I start now, he would be clueless. He has been feeding like this for a long time and he probably thinks he is doing everything just right. Actually, there were a few times I had to remove him since it hurt so much. I just try to re-latch him on in a slightly different angle. Now, he doesn't do it all the time because sometimes it doesn't hurt at all. The question is how do I explain that to him? When I remove him too often, he gets annoyed and he doesn't even want to drink. Yeah, these days it has been fairly hard to feed him as is.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baby's first Halloween

Happy Halloween! I got to carve a pumpkin this year - woohoo! I love carving pumpkins. Last year I didn't because I was too pregnant. This year I decided to carve one for Tristan so after browsing around for ideas, I settled on aviator Snoopy. Since there is so much talk these days about the movie, Amelia, I thought it was appropriate as well :) This design was a lot simpler than most of my previous carvings but it still took around 40 minutes. As usual, Jean-Louis prepped the pumpkin for me by removing most of the flesh inside. He did a great job but I could have actually used a bit more flesh in the area I was working in, if you know what I mean ;-) Anyhow, it all worked out and I'm happy with the end result :)

We bought a scary shirt from Gymboree for Tristan to wear. We probably shouldn't have done that since he will only get to wear it once or people might think we are creeps. Actually, I already put it on him one other time leading up to Halloween. The skeleton on it is suppose to glow in the dark but I don't see it. Maybe in special lighting?

Jean-Louis and I are feeling a bit under the weather so there was no party tonight. It's too bad because Halloween doesn't often land on a Saturday night. If I were much younger and childless (and not sick), I would have loved to throw a costume party. My cold is actually getting worst. I don't think having New York Fries for lunch helped either! I am drinking so much too and honestly, I think it is only making me pee more, nothing else. Man, I hate being sick and I can't wait to get the flu shot. Never had it before so I sure hope it will work magic.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Things I meant to report

I have a random list of things I meant to say but it didn't make sense to create blog posts for each of them. I'm just going to list them below. In other words, this is the lazy me trying to skip blog posts :)
  • Tristan started clapping his hands this past week.
  • Tristan started teething at the top of his mouth 1 or 2 weeks ago. He's going to look like a bunny soon.
  • We confirmed a few days ago that Tristan is allergic to eggplant. We suspected it before and the same thing happened this time when we fed him some. His chin turned red almost instantly after he ate it. Hopefully, he will grow out of it. Neither of us have any food allergies so we think it is just bizarre that he would.
  • A few days ago, I caught a cold. It's the third time since mid August!
  • A few days ago, I started to treat myself for another breast yeast infection. Ugh.
  • A few days ago, I discovered bloody marks on my nipple so Tristan has definitely been biting me!
  • I was contacted about a job recently that I didn't apply for. That is always a good thing :)
  • Less than a week ago, I discovered that there is a Jacadi in Vancouver! I know!!!
  • In the past week or so, I wait listed Tristan in 2 more nearby daycares and started to look into nanny sharing and babysitting. No leads so far but honestly, I haven't put a lot of time into it yet :(
  • Just yesterday, Tristan started to drag the exersaucer across the room of the office. He's also playing with wires and plugs a lot more now. And he loves to open drawers and cupboards!
  • Recently, Tristan hates being strapped in the highchair for feeding. This is a first.
  • The past two days, I have started to feed Tristan a bit more formula milk. So far he is drinking everything.
  • Last but not least, Tristan is now sleeping from 9:30PM to 7 or 7:30AM. This has been going on for about 2 weeks now (knock on wood). As a result, his naps are a bit shorter during the day. It's great news for me since I get to sleep in a bit more but at the same time, I can't do much during the day since he is up most of the time. Oh well - you can't win them all :)

A big potato mess

Lately, Tristan has been wanting to eat on his own. We prepare finger foods for him like cubed carrots, branches of broccoli, tofu, rotini pasta, and cheese. It's a bit of a pain for us to let him eat like this because it means massive cleanup for us afterwards. The alternative is for us to feed him and he cries throughout the entire feeding. When it comes to babies, no option is a great option. The past few days we opted for the no crying option and big mess. Today's lunch was a huge mess.

I decided to cook potato for a change. We like to give him a little something different every day so he doesn't get too bored. He is teething at the top right now too so it is even more important to keep him happy during meal time. Now, if he would only eat potato like cheese, it wouldn't be so bad but he ate it like... well, potatoes :( Massive, massive mess. He squeezed them, chucked them on the floor, smeared them on the tray, and he ate some. This is typical of his behavior, except if it were another vegetable, it wouldn't be so bad. The potatoes were powdery and would dry hard. He rubbed his face, stroked his hair, ears, - pretty much everything was touched by potato. It acted like a gel in his hair - yuck! I think he liked how it felt being sticky to his head so he kept touching and massaging his head with the mash potato. I sat eating my hot pot soup and shaking my head while I watched. Why, why did I give him potato this way? Well, what was done was done and I couldn't waste the moment without a good picture and then writing this post to warn all the other parents NOT to finger feed their babies overcooked potatoes.

Lesson learned: don't use overcooked yellow potatoes as finger food for the baby.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

He's walking!

Jean-Louis bragged about Tristan taking 2 steps the other day but I didn't see it. He has maybe taken a step before but I wouldn't call that walking. Today, he took at least 4 quick steps towards me so it is now official. Tristan is walking! Does that make him a toddler now? Wow, babies sure don't stay babies for long.

First steps and walking - amazing! Tonight, we will bring out the camcorder and try to record it. We'll try after dinner because after a meal is when he is usually the most hyper and energetic. We did the same thing when he started to crawl. Exciting but scary too. Now, we have to toddler proof our home!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tristan is 11 months old!

11 months! You know what that means. It's time to start planning the 1st birthday bash. I love to plan events so it's super exciting! 11 months is also our last monthly birthday celebration for Tristan. I'm sure going to miss cake every month :(

Tristan is eating well and I really think he is fattening up and growing more. We'll find out at his one year checkup next month. I'm not too worried since he is eating much better now, although it is still a struggle to feed him these days. He is still eating everything but some times we have to bribe him with stuff he likes like bread, cheese, and fruit. We try not to do it too often. He is easily distracted too so a toy or an object he can bang on now and then helps too. I honestly think we have tried every trick in the book to get him to eat. Every trick! It's really hard to keep your cool in front of him sometimes too.

I think Tristan is drinking more milk this month than last month. Since he was out of daycare this past month, I was able to add the afternoon feeding as well as give him a bottle. All in all, I think he is just consuming more of everything and he is very regular. He poops every day and some times even twice a day. He is retaining most of his food too. He rarely spits up or pukes anymore.

Breastfeeding is still going strong. I feed him three times a day but I may cut that down to two soon. A milestone happened yesterday for myself. I started to get my period again. Exactly 11 months after birth. Well, I certainly enjoyed not having it for the past 20 months :) The breastfeeding sure helped keep it away for awhile.

"Mamamama" is one of his favorite sounds to make. He doesn't yet know what it means but he likes it :) He loves to just make noise and holler at the top of his lungs. He'll pull himself up and once he is as high as he can get, he'll raise his hand and holler. It's the Tarzan move - that's what I call it. He understands some words like "ball" and "water" but he still can't speak. Also, I think he is making a bit less progress with the baby sign. This month has been a strange one for him. He seems to be a bit confused with milk and more. He does the milk sign a lot!

Tristan is very close to walking. Did I say that last month? Well, he can stand for many many seconds on his own. He may have taken a small step or two as well but I'm not counting that as walking. Once he walks, we can take him out and set him free in public :)

Tristan is more and more loveable to play with these days. He was even entertaining to his grandparents in France on Skype the other day. He would spin and walk around the office chair and laugh and fall along the way. He even grabbed toys and tried to give it to them. At this age, Tristan loves to play peek-a-boo with everyone. He just loves it! Tristan and his Daddy crawl and chase each other around the dining room every night while I prepare dinner. Yeah, there are definitely good times now :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

My breastfeeding days are almost over

The first month I started breastfeeding, I could not imagine lasting 6 months. When 6 months came around, breastfeeding seemed so easy so I decided to continue to 12 months. It is now 11 months. 3 breast infections, 1 breast yeast infection, countless blisters and clogged milk ducts, and 2 colds later, I am still breastfeeding. In fact, I have a blister and clogged ducts right now! Boy, do they hurt :( So even after all this, somehow I just refuse to stop. As long as he still wants it, I am willing to feed him. Besides, I am still home and I don't have to worry about packing milk or feeding in public so it's easy.

There were times where I thought Tristan was not interested in me breastfeeding him anymore. It was actually quite depressing being rejected. He would not be interested after a minute or sometimes won't even want to feed. Usually by the next feeding session or next day, he would be fine. I guess they are easily distracted at this age and more interested in solid food. I surprised myself by feeling sad over it since it was my plan all along to stop after a year and that time is almost up. I should probably start to wean him now.

It should be a time of celebration. 1 month to go! Then I will be able to do anything, go anywhere, wear all my old clothes and bras, drink wine etc. I have been waiting for the end of my breastfeeding days forever it seems. As that time approaches though, I'm feeling a bit bummed. I'm reluctant to give up breastfeeding because I have grown so attached to it and I don't want to deny him any of my milk if he still wants it. Also, the benefits of him acquiring my antibodies and digestive enzymes and all those goodies are also giving me reasons to hang on even longer. Well, 12 months is not a hard deadline so depending on the situation, I may not have to stop all together.

Monday, October 12, 2009

1st Thanksgiving for Baby

I wanted to take a picture of Tristan holding the turkey drumstick but my day and night was too hectic so this post will have to settle for just a picture of my cooked turkey.

Tristan did eat turkey for the first time but I had to grind it with carrots and green beans. I'm not sure he liked it since like most dinners, he is quite difficult to feed. I made enough for a couple days of feeding so I guess we'll see. He did like the string beans when I fed it to him in whole form. He enjoyed biting into it bit by bit. Normally, he wouldn't like green beans that much. Babies are so strange that way.

Since it is Thanksgiving today, I had planned for us to give thanks to all the things we were grateful for at the dinner table tonight. Nope, it didn't happen. We got too caught up in trying to eat and feed Tristan and we were running late and I simply forgot all about it. I'll take this opportunity now to do it in this blog post. Here are all the things I am personally thankful for in my life right now (as it relates to motherhood):
  1. To have Jean-Louis and Tristan in my life of course. I am happy that Jean-Louis is here for us whenever we need him and he is a very hands on kind of father. I am happy that Tristan is doing so well. I wasn't sure we were going to make it this far but we have and there haven't been many mishaps along the way.
  2. I'm thankful for the roughly 7 hours of sleep I get every day now :)
  3. I can cook again, almost like how I used to so we can all eat better.
  4. It will be 11 months next week and I am still breastfeeding.
  5. I was able to use all my maternity and parental leave with paid EI benefits.
  6. I have a consulting job that is very flexible with me so I can work as much as I can.
  7. When I do work, I most often really like my job.
  8. I discovered iPhone app work and really enjoy it.
  9. Last but not least, I am thankful for technology and gadgets like the iPod, iPhone, Skype and even Twitter. These have given me an outside link and in a way, they make me feel a little bit less isolated from being home a lot with the baby.
My list can go on forever but I am actually super tired right now from having cooked up another storm in the kitchen today. In the past, I used to cook much more and was much less tired. Anyway, everything turned out good and we have food for the week and some for the distant future. Thank goodness for frozen food!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Why I look forward to Fridays

Friday is finally here. I have been waiting for it to come since Monday :)

I stay at home to take care of our baby and have been doing it since he was born over 10 months ago. I do not commute to work anymore so some times I don't even leave the house for days. You're probably wondering why I care so much about Friday when my full time job right now is taking care of our baby and on the weekend I don't exactly get time off. True, but on the weekend, I only have to take care of the baby part time and that makes a bit difference for me :)

In fact, I look forward to the evenings when my husband comes home. When he is home, I get to do other stuff like cook, eat, socialize with him, and shower. In a way that puts me in Mommy mode part time. Starting Friday evening right until Monday morning, I also get to be in that mode. You see! I love my Fridays!

There is a bit more to just being on duty part time. I wake up Friday mornings to #followfriday tweets and I always get excited when someone recommends me to follow on Twitter :) I also spend part of my day looking at online grocery flyers so I can plan our shopping trips. So that is another reason - I get to go out to the mall and shop and cook, which I love.

On the weekend, my sweet husband wakes up with the baby and lets me sleep in for 30 minutes to 1 hour. God bless! After feeding the baby when I wake up, I make us breakfast and he makes the coffee. I only have coffee on the weekend so I look forward to that as well! I usually get to work for a few hours, we watch dvds, and we go for afternoon strolls. Sometimes, we make plans to hang out with friends but mainly, we get things done around the house and just relax. Ahhhh... Fridays :)

What's on the agenda that is different this weekend? House cleaning, hair cut for my husband when the baby is sleeping, a visit to our new neighboring Waves coffee house, Thanksgiving cooking, and skype video social with our friend from New Zealand who just had her baby. Hey, when you are a stay-at-home-mom you would get excited about these things too!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A-meh = Mommy?

When he is distressed normally, Tristan would say "a-meh." He does this when he is in his crib crying to sleep. He does this when he wants out of the exersaucer. Some times he will just say it like that. He repeats sounds when he likes the sound of it but this particular sound seem to be associated with a cry for help. I noticed he has been saying it a lot today. Is he trying to call out to me? I read that a baby's first word may not even be a real word. Could "a-meh" be his first word?

At one point, Tristan was saying dada a lot and then he switched to mama. I haven't heard him say dada for awhile. "Mama" comes and goes at random so it is apparent he doesn't know what mama is associated with. All this baby talk and beginnings of language is so bizarre and fascinating to watch!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

We're all recovering from the cold

After a week of staying at home, we are all feeling better. Tristan started to show a lot of improvement after a few days. I think lots of good naps and my breastmilk helped him get better :) I started to feel sick too and it's been on and off for a few days now. This weekend, we finally left the house and as a result, I started to feel a bit worst. I think having too much to do and no nap during the day are also to blame. I'm okay though. This time around it is not nearly as bad for me as my last cold two months ago. Tristan is more or less back to normal now and Jean-Louis seems okay too. As a precaution, I am still dining us on sick food. This week we're having homemade spicy noodle soup!

Onto other more pleasant news, I think my efforts to try and fatten Tristan up the past couple of weeks is starting to pay off. The past week was a bit hard at times since he was sick and a bit more resistant. He is eating more now, although it is still hard to feed him some times :) We don't force him to eat anymore but we do trick him every now and then. Lately, I have been staring at him thinking that he looks a bit fatter these days. Jean-Louis agrees too. His face is rounder. Or maybe it's just me wanting it to be rounder? In any case, he is eating more and he is very regular and very healthy. If it turns out he is still a bit light weight, I'm okay with that as long as he is healthy.

Here is a photo of Tristan I took last week. He is all bundled up in warm clothes since he was sick and it was so cold here. The cold, the darkness, the rain, the dry hands, the cold allergy - all of it reminded me of the birth almost a year ago. Wow. Already. Kind of an unpleasant flashback I have to say. So very glad I am not there anymore :)

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 :)
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