Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I am Lucky.

With all of the action that surrounded Alex's birth (moving, packing, unpacking) the ease of it all somehow got lost.

A while back I posted about how grateful I was to have an easy labour with Hannah and the same is so incredibly true about Alex.

I really didn't think about it until now. And unfortunately, a few terrible labour stories brought it to my attention.

I'm not going to divulge them all except for one that is particularly heart wrenching.

About a year ago I heard the news about a prominent Jewish Montrealer whose granddaughter desperately needed a bone marrow transplant. A huge effort went into finding a match and finally in August the little girl underwent surgery.

I hadn't heard much until today when I read that she had passed away. Surprisingly, I found out the news on Twitter which led me to a blog that was dedicated to her struggle. An outlet for parents who were fighting and are now, so sadly, grieving.

I hate to put a downer on your Tuesday but take a minute and look at what surrounds you. Because both you and I are so lucky to have such healthy, wonderful children in our lives.

Friday, January 27, 2012

School Wars

The conversation in our house these days has been skewing heavily on the subject of Hannah's future education. We love her CPE (especially since its $7/day) and are fully planning on keeping her there as long as possible until she is 4. For two reasons:
1. It's a great education and unlike other daycares, really has that school environment where children are separated by age
2. Alex will be going there next year and 1 carpool is better than 2

So, as Hannah's 3rd birthday approaches we know that next fall we will have to make a decision about her future school.

Public? Private? Jewish? Secular?

Our new house is literally 10 steps away from a very well respected public school which actually offers a Jewish program. My husband is very pro, coming from a public school background. I'm not so sure, coming from a private Jewish background.

My main rationale? I want our kids to know Hebrew and I think this is a tough challenge when you only study it once or twice a week after school, while all of your friends are doing fun sports or other extra curriculars.

We started browsing various school websites and while the prices of the Jewish ones aren't listed (but somewhere in the $6000-$8000 range) we could not believe how much the private, secular schools are! $15,000 for kindergarden! That's insane.

At least that in Montreal. Not New York city. Check out this movie trailer about the competitive (and expensive) world of nursery school applications.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not the right Formula

So my big decision that I wrote about yesterday about whether or not to give formula a try is basically a no go.

The reason why? No, I have not declared myself a breastfeeding nazi but rather I got lucky with a whole lot of breast milk last night. I pumped a whopping 5.5 oz by 10pm just in time for Alex to wake up at 10:30pm.

After a feed that took quite a bit of time (just went to Toys r Us to get 3+ nipples) he dozed off only to wake up at 1:45am. And 4am. And 6am...

So even though he had another great feed upon his first waking I'm thinking hunger is not the issue here.

To be honest, I was hoping it was since a solution was rather quick and easy. But seems like I truly do have another major sucker on my hands (or boobs, for that matter). And in this case, a solution isn't so easy.

It takes work, sleepless nights and possibly tears. Not sure I'm ready to tackle this yet (maybe its 4 month regression....stop fooling yourself Lauren!) Guess I have to be in the zone to take this challenge on. Not there yet, maybe Monday.

Unless someone out there has some inspiration for me?!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Supplement or Not to Supplement?

I take great pride in being able to say that I breastfed Hannah exclusively for 13 months. Actually, if you gave me a can of formula I wouldn't really know what to do with it.

And up until now, Alex has been also getting only breast milk. But I'm starting to think I want to give formula a try. But in my mind there is such a stigma attached to this idea.

Now please, moms who bottle-feed take no offence. I know there are plenty of moms who can't breastfeed or just don't want to...and that is totally cool. It's your choice...god knows raising a baby is hard enough so you have to pick what works best for you. But my track record with Hannah makes me think that Alex should get the same treatment. And that by not breastfeeding 24/7 I am being lazy.

I don't want to give him formula just for the heck of it. I actually want to do a little test to see if filling him up with 5-6 oz before bedtime will make him sleep longer. Because based on my recent pumping experiences I'm only getting 2-3 oz a pump. And I think my growing boy needs more to fill his tummy. But then again, he was doing 5 hour shifts before his 3 month (corrected) growth spurt.

Really don't know what to do. But then again, after re-reading this post it really isn't such a big deal to at least give it a try, right? I did just say, that moms should do whatever makes their lives easier, did I not? So I'm not exception to the rule...

What do you think? Will more milk make a difference or do you think at four months old I should still be accepting wake up calls every 2-3 hours?

Maybe if I have enough of your encouragement I'll give it a try...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Girl's Life

Hannah had her first ever ballet class today. We've been talking about it for weeks and preparing by purchasing a leotard, tights and ballet shoes and finding ballet books at the library.

She had a wonderful time at class. Parents weren't allowed inside so I couldn't see what she was doing but she ran out with a huge smile on her face. I'm slightly tempted to ask the teacher to take my phone and video her so I can see what it's all about. Especially since I am certain that she will clam up the minute it comes time for their end of season recital in front of an audience.

After snack and getting dressed we headed out to the car. Or at least tried to. As we were leaving the room, Hannah noticed all of the other girls' pink backpacks...Dora, Hello Kitty, princesses. I had packed her things in her brothers' Skip Hop dog backpack that he is currently not using.

Well, Hannah didn't like that one bit. Full on hissy fit all the way to the car on the icy sidewalk wanting to go back and take one. After trying to explain that they belonged to the other girls and that I would be more than happy to buy her a pink backpack I came to realize what was just beginning.

The competitive and want-to-be world of girls. The expression "just wait until she is in high school" kept going through my mind.

The timing was quite ironic after having just read this article the day before about a 7 year old girl who told her mom she was fat.

The past almost 3 years have been easy-peasy. I buy something for Hannah and she loves it, plays with it or wears it. But I think we're about to enter the stage of comparison. Good for motivation and learning, potentially bad for my wallet and her self image.

So how do you create an environment for your daughter where she is 100% happy with herself no matter what she has and what she looks like?

I don't think anyone has the answer and I think its completely unavoidable but by filling her with positiveness and taking words out of our vocabulary like fat, skinny and ugly I think we can steer her in the right direction, especially now during this most impressionable age.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Favourite Things - part 2

A long time has passed since I last wrote about some of my favourite baby things. And while I still have favourites like my Beco baby carrier I thought I'd round up some of my newest mom finds:

We have yet to buy a new stroller and are actually contemplating if we even need a double come spring time when Hannah will be 3 but if I had to pick this would be it. Great for 2 kids (even infants) but not too wide like the typical side by sides.

I wanted navy blue crib sheets for Alex's room and they were almost impossible to find, except at Pottery Barn kids.

Lent to us by a friend when Hannah was a baby, this super plush stroller sack is getting tons more use by Alex as we now live on flatter terrain, which doesn't require using a carrier as much.
This was a gift from a great friend and has totally changed bath time and made it easier to have 2 in the tub.
Tommy Tippee bottles
These "closer to nature" bottles have replaced Hannah's Adiri bottles, mainly because they are so much easier to find. But they still have that boob-like look and feel.

Those are my top baby picks for now. Seeing as we're doing this the second time around we luckily haven't had to buy much.

Still shopping for Hannah though...stay tuned for my favourite toddler things :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

The King so Far isn't the Thing

Since the day I found out I was pregnant with Alex, I made a commitment to try my very best to avoid all of the sleep problems we had with Hannah. Namely, co-sleeping and letting her suck herself to sleep.

So when Alex arrived we promptly placed him in his playpen/crib, teaching him how to fall asleep on his own. And that is what he did for a good 3 months. Sometimes with a pacifier, sometimes without.

All was going well. Great naps (albeit short), 5 hour nighttime stretches - and then the 14th week happened.

My last post was about growth spurts and Wonder Weeks. Needless to say Alex was a bit of a baby monster on Monday, crying and constantly wanting to eat. So I let him suck, and suck and suck.

Boy, do we ever have a problem now.

My husband and I are secretly hoping that its just a phase/spurt that will pass but this little man has developed a major sucking addiction in the past 4 days.

How did that happen so fast?

He's waking up every 2 hours, screaming bloody murder if he doesn't have a boob or pacifier when he wakes up, and getting totally agitated when he loses the pacifier in his crib.

Wow. My biggest mistake seems to have come back to haunt me.

So now I'm trying my best to keep him from getting overtired while using the Pantley No Cry solution of slowly pulling him off or removing the pacifier once he is asleep.

But I'll admit that he has spent the good part of his past two nights in our bed.

Pretty ironic considering we got our new king size bed delivered on Monday and haven't had one good sleep in it yet (the kids' fault, not Stearns & Foster)

So what's a mom to do now that she is back where she hoped she'd never be?!

Fingers crossed that this will pass. If not, at least I've got an arsenal of tricks up my sleeve.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Growth spurts, Wonder weeks & Dairy Queens

The past 3.5 months of motherhood, round two, have been a bit of a blur. But now that we are settled in our new home and we have a regular daily routine I seem to be noticing Alex's changes more. Or maybe he is just starting to change more as he gets bigger.

As we enter his 14th week (or 12th week based on his due date), this child seems to have an insatiable appetite.

Time to break out the books and do some google searching.

Ah yes, 3 month growth spurt, Wonder Week 15...seems like my angel of a son will return to his perfection status in a few days once we make these big developmental leaps. Until then, its lots of cuddles and, more importantly, milk!

Breastfeeding this time around has been much easier. With Hannah, I was miserable those first 5 days until my milk came in. But with Alex I knew what to look for in terms of latching and my milk arrived before I even left the hospital. I've made a regular point of pumping so I can get more sleep while my husband gives a midnight bottle.

(You see, I'm not much of a midnight mom anymore! I smartened up and realized that sleep is essential with two).

So with all of this eating that's happening every 1-2 hours I got concerned about my milk supply. Especially when I pumped the other day and got less than an ounce from both sides in 17 minutes.

I started to blame by recent attempt at losing weight courtesy of Weight Watchers (which actually features a special plan for breastfeeding moms). But then, with the help of some great advice, realized that I pumped right after a feed which I never do. And maybe I need to drink more water...

So a bit more reassured, I'm looking at this growth spurt as an opportunity to increase my milk supply and get a reserve going that can be frozen rather than just being used for midnight bottles.

In the meantime, with all of the boxes unpacked and Hannah back at school post-vacation, I'm thinking its time to shower Alex with love and kisses that he may have been missing out on.

Because a boy this good certainly deserves it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Night

Last night my husband and I went out for the first time since Alex was born. That's just about 14 weeks. And if you consider my pre-delivery slowdown I'd say it was really our first time out since our anniversary on Labour Day.

Long overdue.

But we weren't up to asking just anybody to put the two kids to bed seeing as we've barely done it solo ourselves. We probably could of in the last few weeks seeing as Hannah has finally acclimatized to her new room and Alex is on a predictable schedule but we just didn't.

So when my in-laws asked if Hannah wanted to sleep over last night we jumped at the opportunity and had my mom come over to watch Alex.

Where to go?! I had read and been invited to so many new restaurant launches (but couldn't attend because of Alex's arrival) so I thought the decision would be tough. Nora Gray, Lawrence, Le Filet.

Not so. I called around and found out that many restaurants were still closed for the holidays until January 10th.

And the Happening Gourmand would have been ideal with prix fixe menus in the Old Port but it only starts tomorrow, January 9.

So after some tweeting, hemming and hawing I found the perfect place. Moishes.

A steakhouse for a vegetarian? Yes!

A few months ago this Montreal classic introduced a special Thursday to Sunday menu for $25 between the hours of 9pm and midnight. An appetizer, main course and coffee or tea for half the price such a meal would ordinarily cost.

It was a great night out with plenty of pickles and coleslaw to start and the infamous Double Bubble gum to end the night. And in the middle, a house salad, shrimps and spinach and Monte Carlo potato. Not to mention the scrumptious piece of Millefeuille (last one in the house) taken to go.

I hadn't been to Moishes in ages and the recent renovation was quite impressive as well as the great marketing technique of bringing in a younger crowd.

As we drove up St Laurent Blvd. we joked around that we hadn't been there in ages. Best line of the night from my husband "When I was 17 and heading to Vol du Nuit and Cafeteria I never imagined driving up this street in a 7-passenger vehicle with a cow print car seat in the back".

Of how things have changed. For the better :)

Here's to more nights out...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What To Expect

Ok. So maybe my last post was a bit premature...a few weeks lag between posts.

But on that note, Happy New Year!

And here's something to look forward to in 2012 (courtesy of my husband)