Thursday, September 23, 2010

10 Years Ago Today

We said "I do" and walked into the sunset of happily ever after.

Until we started to try to have kids.

I think of how far we have come and how we are no longer those innocent, bright eyed kids that ran down the aisle at the church, so eager to start living our life together. We thought that life would be all sunshine and a bed of roses. We had no idea what was in store for us a few years down the road.

We're not so innocent anymore. We're not so naive.

However, my marriage is so much stronger than it was when we started out. Everything that IF put us through has made our marriage rock solid. All that we went through, we suffered through together, each one holding the other one up when we couldn't stand on our own. When IF dealt us blows that we didn't think we could withstand, instead of letting it drive us apart, we grew closer together. We stared into each others eyes and told each other that somehow, someday, it would be okay and that we would get through this.

I don't doubt for a minute that my husband loves me. I don't doubt for a second that he would do anything for me. I don't doubt that together, we can withstand anything life throws at us. I will hold his hand through anything as he will hold mine.

Happy 10th Anniversary Honey - you're the best and I love you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good Help is Hard to Find These Days

I've been looking for someone to help me on a part-time basis for the last month and a half as my first nanny went back to work on a full-time basis for the family that sponsored her. I knew this was always a temporary arrangement and only for the summer but I think I was kind of hoping I could do it all on my own in the fall and save the money. I've proven to myself in these past few weeks sans nanny that I can do it by myself, but it is really tiring and I have a hard time dealing with the blips in "normal" when someone has a sleepless night or when the time comes, the first illness or a cold or egads, teething. On of my friends gently asked me if saving the money was worth the price of my sanity and she's right. I gotta stop being so cheap and just go out and find someone.

I had started out with very high hopes using the website and I paid the membership fee of $85 to gain access to their listing of nannies but to be honest, I've been pretty disappointed in the quality of the candidates that I have been seeing. I think that if we were looking for a full-time nanny, we would likely be seeing more potential nannies but for what I'm looking for, I don't get that much serious interest.

I am upfront about what we need and I am very clear that this is a part-time position 3 mornings a week but I still get yahoos applying for the job and I get the sense that it is as a backup until they find full-time work and then will leave us. A lot of these nannies contact me, set up an interview and then not show up which is a complete waste of my time and extremely irritating. At the worst point, we had two interviews with two different potential nannies booked Sunday night and Monday night and neither one showed up. ARGH! I actually called the first no show to see if she was okay and if she was still coming and someone else answered the phone. When the twit realized that it was me, suddenly my call was disconnected and the cell phone turned off when I tried to call back. If you're not going to come, at least tell me. As it was, my poor DH was sitting outside with Daisy each night so that if the nanny arrived, Daisy wouldn't bark at the doorbell. Waste of our time - geez.

After suffering through this horrible process, we decided to take a break and are now back looking again but going about this in an entirely different manner.

We've decided to hire one or two Early Childhood Education students from one of the local universities to cover the 15 hours/week I'm looking for help. I've got job postings submitted at three of the universities that have ECE programs and hopefully, we'll see some better, more suitable candidates for our job.

All I know is that I don't want to see any more irresponsible, rude and flaky potential nannies that waste my time. The best part is that the career centers at each of these universities will allow you to do a job posting for FREE. I hope that someone with a good attitude who wants the experience of working with twins will apply for our job. Really, we can't see any worse candidates...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Very "Solid" Start to Solids

As I mentioned in my last post, we started solids a few days ago. I was pretty excited to get to this major milestone and eagerly anticipating seeing my girls develop into foodies just like Mama and Baba. I had visions in my head of offering a spoon full of wholesome, organic fruit or vegetable goodness to my girls and having them joyfully opening up their mouths to eat it (and getting it all in of course without any mess! Hey - it's my fantasy!).

So here's your opportunity to feel a little superior for a moment as I have managed to bungle up this new food introduction pretty good. Due to my overenthusiastic efforts to introduce solids, my poor little Victoria is now constipated. I had to watch her scream and cry through a bowel movement today and wipe the tears from her eyes as she struggled to pass everything that I had been joyfully spooning into her. Now let me qualify - she isn't technically constipated in that her stools are still soft but they are the firmest they have ever been in her lifetime and she really struggles to pass them (sorry TMI).

I have to admit that I didn't have a lot of time to do any reading...I just quickly read through the short section in the What to Expect book (in the first year - not the pregnancy one) and thought "Okay - we'll just feed them a little bit...just until they don't want any more." There was not a lot of information in that particular book and they didn't really include any quantities or how much to give them so I started off with 1tbsp of rice cereal per the package instructions. After the initial shock and resistance to the introduction of solids, my girls showed great interest in having more so I prepared and fed them more and more cereal until they didn't want any more. This translated into 2-3 tbsp of cereal plus about 1/4 of an avocado (the next thing I introduced) mixed in. Then I had a tiny bowl of mashed bananas, maybe about 1 tbsp of that on the side as that was the 3rd thing I was introducing. It was about 3-4 tbsp of food in total which doesn't sound like a lot...but for a 7 month old, I guess it is a lot.

I had read that at this point, the introduction of solids should not replace BF but rather, the aim is to get them used to chewing and moving the food from the front of their mouths to the back and then swallowing it. They aren't supposed to be getting any real nutrition from this food - it's more for "learning and enjoyment" as one book put it (so I read after). I didn't understand how introducing solids could not have an impact on how much milk they were drinking - there is only so much room and if I'm feeding them until they don't want any more, how does that not replace even a small portion of the milk they would have drank? I quickly discovered that with so much solid foods added, they were beginning to not have enough room for milk when I would go to nurse them.

Tonight, after putting the girls to bed, I started consulting Dr. Google and called my sister about how to go about introducing solids properly. Wow did I make a lot of mistakes!

Mistake #1: starting with rice cereal and feeding it to the kids in a large quantity as a base for all of their meals. Did you know that rice cereal (and rice in general) is constipating? I didn't! (It's okay - you can feel superior...I give you permission!) I just thought rice was easy to digest and all of the resources I had consulted prior to today pointed at rice cereal as the first and most obvious choice to introduce solids. Besides, I'm Asian so rice as a first meal seemed like a natural choice.

Mistake #2: feeding the girls such large quantities of the new solid I am introducing. I now know that introducing solids is just that - an introduction to the tune of about 1tsp to 1tbsp *in total* depending on whose opinion you've solicited. Now in my defense, I have this recipe book that I do quite like that provides recipes by age and introduction of solid foods and it talks about a portion size at this stage as being something like a half of an avocado which sounds enormous for a small child IMHO. I thought I was okay by feeding them a portion which is a lot less than half of an avocado but I was still giving them too much. So, tomorrow it's back to just 1tbsp of whatever it is that I'm introducing.

Mistake #3: choosing banana as a first fruit. Did you know that bananas are also constipating in nature?? I didn't (again, here you may feel superior - it's okay, really)! In what little reading I did beforehand, many books recommend starting off with bananas as a first fruit as it is sweet and can be readily mashed to the appropriate consistency. So here I am, merrily feeding my kids not one but two constipating causing foods in their first exposure to solid foods. I obviously have more reading to do about the effect that various foods will have on one's digestive system.

Mistake #4: feeding the girls solids 2x/day. So apparently, when introducing solids, you're supposed to do it just once a day in tiny quantities (i.e. 1tbsp or less) which is how this can be done without any impact to BF at this point.

Mistake #5: introducing solids before BF. Apparently, the way to do it is to introduce solids after breastfeeding to ensure that they don't fill up on solids yet as they aren't supposed to be getting their nutrition from this source at this point. Breast milk should still be the primary source of their calories. I gave them solids before BFing because I wanted them to be hungry and therefore more receptive to new tastes and textures but at this point you're not supposed to do that. Who knew?

So there you have it - in 5 short days I have managed to wreak havoc on my little one's digestive system. My sister recommended a book called The Baby's Table which I will be picking up tomorrow and it includes important information such as serving sizes and frequency of servings along with a sample menu plan. This book will help me to get from introduction up to the full transition to solid foods which is exactly what I'm looking for. This would have been so helpful to have had last week. However, better late than never and I know this is a learning process for the both of us.

So sorry to have constipated you Victoria - I hope you forgive Mama...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What are they up to now?

I thought it would be fun to update you on what Victoria and Caitlyn are doing these days as it is always interesting to see what new things they have learned or recently mastered. They just turned 7 months old and I find that so hard to believe, just like I'm having a hard time believing it is already September! I must say that this is a really fun age where they are more and more interactive, not just with me but with each other which is really cute to watch. Just today, Victoria was looking at Caitlyn and smiling right at her and cooing which I thought was really cute.

First off - we went to the doctor's today for the last of their vaccine shots so we're injection free until 1 year now (phew!). While we were there, of course we took the opportunity to weigh them and Caitlyn was 14lbs 10oz and Victoria was 13lbs 5oz. They're still pretty small and of more concern is that Victoria has not put on as much weight as Caitlyn has and the difference is widening between them. They used to be just a half pound different but now the gap has increased to a full pound and a half difference in their weights. I know that they are different kids but Victoria still should have put on more weight given her length which is still normal. So, we're going to let her keep her night feed and try to make sure she gets an extra bottle that way as Caitlyn normally sleeps through the night unless Victoria wakes her up.

Onto developmental milestones...Victoria has mastered rolling over from back to front in both directions and is actually quite quick and fast at it. She can now flip from front onto her back but does this less than the other move as she prefers to be on her stomach. Caitlyn can now roll over from back to front but she is less inclined to do so as she prefers to be on her back. If I get her started, she'll finish rolling over but she doesn't know how to go back the other way and will get stuck and cry. Neither one of my girls are able to sit in an upright position without assistance however they do hold their heads up when they are pulling up to the sitting position from the ground (rather than letting their heads hang backwards).

They are both laughing and cooing which is absolutely adorable. My Mom was sitting in the back seat of the car with them today, making sure that no one fell asleep on the ride home from the doctor's office and Caitlyn was just giggling away at her antics. It was truly adorable to hear her little giggle - sweet! Victoria also likes to coo really softly, so softly that it sounds a lot like heavy breathing but just way cuter - I call it her "Baby Darth Vadar" imitation and have been trying to capture it on video.

Both of my girls are starting to reach out and grab stuff so we have to be careful when we sit them down in our laps. Victoria is going to be a dentist when she grows up because she just loves to brush her gums. When she sees the toothbrush, her little hand will reach out and grab it and she'll stick it in her mouth and move it back and forth. Sometimes I'll have to pry it out of her hands as she just wants to keep brushing!

Our next big thing is that we're starting solids tomorrow! I'm excited to see what their reaction is to something new although rice cereal doesn't sound that appetizing to me in the least. I guess their taste buds are developing and they are really tasting things very keenly. I gave them some infant Tylenol today just in case they had an adverse reaction to the shot and they both decided that today, they just didn't like the flavour at all. I find that so hard to believe - it's the white grape flavour and it must be sweet but both girls screwed up their faces and frowned. Victoria absolutely hates it and will spit out as much as I manage to get into her mouth. The only thing I can think of is that it is too sweet for their tastes right now. I've tried hiding it in milk but that doesn't go down well either so I'm glad that it appears that they don't really need it this time but I'm stuck if they really do need the medicine and I can't get it in them. Anyway, I'm excited to try solids tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what they like or don't like. Their little faces can't lie at this age and to see the look of absolute enjoyment/disgust is pretty funny.

So that's it for now. Everyone is doing well but I gotta work on fattening up my little Victoria.

Dumb Pride?

From June to the end of August, we've had a part-time nanny come and help me out in the mornings 3 days a week and it has been so wonderful to have the extra help. This was only a summer arrangement and she has now returned back to her full-time position so I am without a nanny now. My Mom still comes 2x/week to help me out but we have been trying to hire someone else and I find myself very reluctant to do so. It's the thought of having to explain everything to someone new, getting the kids adjusted to someone else and then having yet another stranger in my house. I always wanted to take care of the kids myself with a little help from my Mom and I know I will be really tired doing so but is it dumb pride that is preventing me from getting another nanny? What is the reluctance I'm feeling all about?

Part of it is the money I have to admit. We are down to one salary and I am very cognizant that this is another expense we would have to absorb. Am I just being naive to think that I can manage on my own? We haven't even started the really fun stuff yet like eating solids, crawling or walking. Am I deluding myself into thinking I can do this on my own? Is it some strange desire to be some super-Mom to make up for my short-comings in the past (i.e. my inability to have kids without major medical intervention)? Am I setting myself up to implode?

What do you guys think??

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Fine Art of Flexibility

We had a very busy week last week and I headed into it with a little trepidation, wondering how the kids would do with so much disruption to their sleeping/napping schedule. My DH told me that he thought I can be, at times, too rigid and inflexible regarding where and when the kids nap so I thought that for once, this week I would just go with whatever happened. I would deal with the fallout, whatever that turned out to be.

Wednesday we headed out for lunch with our nanny as her time with us has come to an end (she was only with us for the summer). Lunch of course coincides with what was, at that point, turning into their major 2nd nap of the day which happens around noon. I let them nap in the car on the way there, hoping that they would stay asleep while we had a nice lunch and adult conversation. Ha - their little eyes popped open as soon as we walked into the restaurant. They then fell asleep in the car on the way home only to wake up once I pulled into the driveway. Great...2 small naps instead of one long nap. I was expecting bedtime to be even more of a battle but surprisingly, it wasn't and they slept pretty soundly, only getting up once to feed at around 2am. Not too bad in my mind!

Thursday was my DH's 40th birthday and we headed out for yet another lunch with the family. This time they made it to the restaurant without falling asleep at all and then stayed up through the entire lunch which put them waaay past their normal time to nap. Of course, during the ride home, they fell asleep so I rushed them upstairs in their car seats, darkened the room and then transferred them into their cribs successfully without them waking up too much. Miracle! That night, bedtime was not that bad at all with only a little minor fussing 45 minutes into their evening sleep. I was really beginning to wonder if my DH was right about my being too rigid and inflexible with their sleeping/napping schedule.

Friday was my cousin's wedding and the service was at 1pm, right when the girls were supposed to be asleep. I don't know if it was a culmination of the sleep deprivation from the previous 2 days, but my two girls had a super long morning nap and so were able to stay up for the service. They were put to nap at 3pm when we got home and after we fed them and they had a good 2nd nap lasting about an hour. They then proceeded to sleep well that night while we were away at the reception.

I was worried that all this disruption to their sleeping schedules would come back to bite us Saturday for sure but to our surprise, they slept through the night with minimal fussing. We didn't have to get up at all to feed them. Gasp!

Sunday we had a family BBQ for my DH's 40th birthday and the girls napped well again during the day, often falling asleep in whoever's arms they were in at the time. Victoria had a restless night last night up until about 11pm but after that, she seemed to sleep very well.

So, I learned this past week that being a little flexible doesn't result in catastrophe when it comes to their sleeping/napping schedules. They also got to get out and see so many new things and experience so many different events like lunches out, weddings and family gatherings. There has to be a balance and I hope that the trade off between good sleep and being at home and the new experiences they got is worth it.