Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Corporate Responsibility

Like I mentioned in a previous post, there are a few stores that have offered to take back any baby bottles (or other paraphernalia) that are made with BPA. We decided to try our luck with the local Toys R Us today.

I packed up all the Avent bottles I had (except one, as I wanted to make sure I would have something to pump into), I packed up the Avent pacifiers we had (the clear ones are made with BPA apparently), and I packed up the Playtex Avance bottles I had (why did I have 2 types of bottles - don't ask me, I didn't know much about this stuff when I was registering way back when).

Even though it was a Wednesday morning, we still had to wait in a line of 4 people (3 out of 4 of them were women returning bottles). After about 20 mins it was our turn ... my little stash of bottles + pacifiers totaled $90. Seriously. Some of it was in it's original packaging - but that didn't seem to matter at all - we got full retail on all the items, used or not, put onto a TRU gift card.

Wow, is all I have to say. There hasn't been an 'official' recall yet, and still they are doing what is 'right'. Sadly, that's something very rarely seen in the corporate world these days. It certainly does a lot in solidifying my loyalty to Toys R Us - well done them.



Okay - so next time I decide to write about how great Maddie is sleeping, please stop me and remind me that every single time I decide to declare to the blogosphere that her sleep habits are getting better, they get worse.

Right. So no more sleep talk. Like, ever.

On a happier note - I've uploaded some more vids to YouTube - they should be showing up on the sidebar on the right. It's kind of a pain in the ass as I have to edit them down to be shorter, so they don't take 10 hours to upload. Apparently when we take video of our little Miss M we like to keep rolling and rolling and rolling...

So two lessons learned today. 1) stop talking about her sleep - good or bad. 2) limit videos of anything cute she's doing to like 1 min, because really, anything longer is just not necessary.

Good to know.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Easier back then

Now I get why any woman my Mom's age has been looking at me kinda funny when I complain about how badly Maddie sleeps. I always felt like they thought I was too soft on her, not putting her down enough, or just plain had a bad baby (haha - I know they didn't think that, but sometimes you feel like that's what they are thinking when you get those looks).

And when they would furrow their brow and try to remember their baby's sleep issues, inevitably giving me the - nope, I don't remember there being an issue past the first month - well, I always would silently roll my eyes and think, yeah, right.

But now I get it. They DIDN'T have as many issues. They weren't just forgetting those sleepless nights - they really didn't have as many issues as I think most parents face today re: sleeping. Because we all slept on our stomachs. And THAT my friends, is the key to good sleep apparently.

I've mentioned it in a few previous posts - Maddie has recently started to sleep on her stomach more and more often. And because she can roll over easily now, I'm not as worried about it re: SIDS anymore (note I said - 'as worried' - I don't think I'll ever stop doing the 'make sure she's still breathing check' before I go to bed). But yeah, now that she's sleeping on her tummy every once in a while, I'm starting to see a pattern emerge...

Nights where she rolls onto her stomach at some point in her sleep - she will sleep uninterrupted for like, 6 or 7 hours. Naps where she rolls onto her stomach - she'll sleep for 2 hours or more. Not that she doesn't sleep well on her side (which is how she always starts out), or her back (sometimes passes out like a drunken sailor on her back if she's been fussing before drifting off) - she will sleep in either position for a good period of time - but nothing like the belly sleep.

So some of you may be thinking - well, dude, just put her down to sleep on her belly - then she'll sleep well every night. Yeah - doesn't really work that way with our headstrong little girl. If she's even remotely awake and she is on her stomach, she starts to do push ups, gets agitated, forgets how to roll back over and really works herself into a little freak out.

But it's starting to become more of a regular thing - last night she slept from 7:30-11:30, up to eat, then back to sleep until 6am. Fantabulous. Although I would have loved to sleep a little longer than 6am, and would love for my body to untrain itself from waking up at 4am (when she sleeps through, I don't - so then I get all freaked out that she hasn't woken up, and have to go check on her - and yeah - don't get me started - silly new mom neurosis) ... but I will take a 7 hour stretch of sleep any day of the week.

So there you go older ladies ... us new moms aren't as 'soft' as you all may think we are! We're at a disadvantage having to put our babes down on their backs to sleep. Safer sleep with the drawback of massive sleep deprivation. Hmmmm, I guess I'll take it.


Monday, April 28, 2008

It was a productive weekeend!

After returning from the gym on Saturday morning, we all showered and got dressed to head out to Canadian Tire to buy the top soil, grass seed and other gardening supplies we needed to get our project done this weekend. And much to Seth's dismay, as we were on our way to the store, I spotted a garage sale and made him stop (I LOVE LOVE LOVE garage sales - Mom, you did that to me!) ... but I'm happy to report that I got an exersaucer (plain one, so we can put food or different toys on the shelf for her), an activity push-cart thing that makes a lot of noise apparently, and a bunch of toys - a chime ball, some plastic blocks, and other stackable/noise-making toys. All for (wait for it) ... $15! Yes, I am a pro deal-maker.

So we get to Canadian Tire, find the stuff we need, get notified by the teenage sales associate that the sod has beetles (so don't buy it) ... and after a quick detour at the local landscape supply company for sod, make our way back home. We make lunch and then I took Maddie upstairs to lay her down for a nap (it was an action-packed day for her so far and her morning nap was far too short) and Seth headed back out to Cdn Tire (our math skillz are poor at best - he needed more sod and A LOT more top soil).

By now it was getting to be late afternoon, so Seth only had time to lay down the sod (and stamp it, and water it ... and do whatever else he was doing back there - the boy is obsessed with that little patch of sod now) - the soil + seed would have to wait until Sunday. Greg and Liz arrived and found us both still a) not dressed for dinner, b) no where close to being ready for dinner and c) without an awake baby to take to dinner. Yes - Maddie decided to take a 2.5 hour nap that afternoon! So while we had planned on being at the restaurant by 5pm, we didn't end up even leaving until 5:30-ish.

Which leads me to an aside - why do babies always nap for a looooooooong time only when you are kind of counting on the shorter (more regular) nap length? Without fail, if I put Maddie down for a nap, expecting her to sleep for her regular hour nap length, (and actually using that expectation to plan my timing), she will inevitably sleep for 2 hours or more. Is that the baby sod's law rule? Not that I mind her sleeping longer (am always hoping that this will convince her that she SHOULD be sleeping for 2 hours at a time for naps) ... and most things in my life can be moved around, rescheduled, whatever - but still, it's just a funny coincidence...

Anyhoo - so off we went to eat our fill of all-you-can-eat sushi (and deep-fried scallops, tempura shrimp, avocado pizza and other yummy items). Despite having slept for 2 hours, Maddie was still a bit of a grump. Although as I thought about it - can't really blame her. She slept for 2.5 hours and once she was awake, she wanted to be go-go-going, play-play-playing. Instead she was strapped into a carseat or sitting on someone's lap - being told, "No, you can't play with the sushi." "No, don't tip over the soy sauce." "No, the wasabi is not for babies." "Okay, play with the paper menu - oh wait, don't get any paper cuts - here try the napkin." A bit frustrating for a baby with some energy to burn!

Regardless - dinner was fabulous (thanks G&L!) and post-dinner routine with Maddie went shockingly smoothly. She went down to sleep fairly easily and we cracked out the Clue. It was a longer than usual game and I (almost) won! AND Maddie didn't wake up at all - yay! It was a glimpse of what our life will be like in a few months (years) ... catering our schedule entirely around her, but getting to enjoy some grown-up fun while she slumbers away peacefully for the night. That glimpse was nice.

Sunday saw Seth out in the yard doing the top soil/seeding thing first thing in the morning, while I did laundry and some other stuff around the house and Maddie slept. For. Another. 2+ hour. Nap.

Why you ask? Well, because she and I had plans to go with Auntie Liz to the Durham Mamas + Chicks baby show. At 9:30. Instead I got all sorts of housework done and we ended up leaving at 11 instead.

Another quick aside - while I was waiting for Miss M to wake up from her slumbers, I didn't hold back from making any noise while tackling some household chores. The laundry was started. I cleaned (and banged around) the dishes. Put away dishes from the dishwasher. All those things that I'm usually afraid will wake her up (and often do) otherwise. Instead, after we rounded the 2 hour corner on her napwagon, I decided I would try vacuuming - and if she slept through that I would definitely have to go in and see if she was still breathing. Yeah, she drew the line at vacuuming. Good to know.

So off Liz and I went to the baby show while the boys went to their first baseball practice of the year. I got Maddie some (more!) toys at the baby show and found a fantastic wrap that will work perfectly for our Ireland trip I think. It's a (aptly named) MonkeyWear wrap - Cdn company and very different than the other sling configurations I have. All in all, a productive day!

And now it's Monday - Miss M is just waking up now - a BIG sleep in for her, as it's almost 9am. She had a few wake ups last night, but I guess after the last one, finally rolled onto her belly where she then slept nice and peacefully ... why won't she just always sleep on her belly? I don't know - it's a mystery. I've tried explaining to her that she should, because she sleeps so goooooood on her belly - but she won't be convinced. And there's no just putting her down on her belly - if she finds herself on her belly and doesn't want to be there, she screams blue murder ... so it's a crap shoot. But at least now, her 10am baby signing class won't be cutting into her morning nap - she should be well rested now!

Have a good week friend and fam!


Friday, April 25, 2008

The zoo and other news

Yesterday we went to the Toronto Zoo - actually I ended up buying a membership as I think it will be a good place for Maddie and I to go during the day. She doesn't really 'look' at the animals (she looks in their direction, but I'm pretty sure she's just looking at the fence in front of her), but as she gets older she'll start looking beyond the fence and hey, it's like a big park to be walking around in with more interesting things to look at for me.

This weekend I have a long list of 'to dos' for us to try and cross off. Poor Seth - he has no idea - although don't feel too bad for him - he crashed out at the same time Maddie went to bed tonight - 8pm. Saturday night we have dinner plans with Greg & Liz - going out for my first sushi dinner since before I was pregnant ... am seriously excited! Then we're heading back to casa Vallier for some game playing - should be good times and hopefully Maddie sleeps through it (unlike last time, when she decided it was far more interesting to be awake with everyone).

Sunday there is a baby show in Oshawa that Maddie and I will be attending. My goal is to try and find a sling that actually works for us - hopefully that will help us over in Ireland if she gets sick of the stroller. Yeah, starting to get nervous about the enormity of the packing list I will need for Ireland ... and I just know that I will forget something crucial.

That's it for us - hope you all have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


  • Sunshine? check
  • Warmer temperatures? check
  • Birds singing? check
  • Allergens and pollen running rampantly through the air, up into my nostrils and drilling little bits of pain into my brain? check, check, double check!

I realize that it's just part of the punishment package of living in the "country" ... allergy season comes earlier. But what sucks the big one is that I can't take any allergy stuff to soothe my sniffling, itchy nasal passages. Because allergy medication is based on drying stuff up. Which means that my milk would get all dried up as well. Dammit...

I've actually been suffering allergies all winter (from the cats), but haven't wanted to whine about it all that much ... especially so as to not give any more ammunition to those people in my life that are less than supportive of my choice to breastfeed. Or 'breastemies' as I like to think of them!

It's actually quite shocking just how involved anyone and everyone can be in your life, the minute you have a child. They have opinions on EVERYTHING. How much she should be sleeping. How often she should be sleeping. When she should start solids. What types of solids she should be eating. How often we go out during the week. What activities we should be doing together. How often I should be taking her outside. What she should be wearing when we go outside. What she should be wearing on an everyday basis. And lastly (and my personal fave) whether she should be breastfeeding and especially, how long she should be breastfeeding.

Originally, my goal was to breastfeed until 6 months. I thought that was a good goal - and if I didn't make it that far, oh well, I did my best. Instead it has been a much more enjoyable experience than I anticipated, and at 6.5 months we're still going strong with no end in sight. Some people have commented to me, " you're lucky it's been so easy". I bite my tongue to those comments because you're never going to convince someone that at times it has been incredibly hard, painful and nerve-racking. Because they would just retort - but you didn't quit. So in their mind it hasn't been that hard and I've been lucky. Okay. Whatever. I've gone through cracked, bleeding nipples, milk blisters, blocked ducts and one hell of a nursing strike. You're right - I've been lucky.

Some of my favourite comments are about the lack of freedom I have while still breastfeeding. Yes, while we are breastfeeding, that does mean that she and I won't be apart for an extended period of time. I don't mind her taking a couple of bottles while I'm out for an afternoon or an evening, but I'm not going to risk my supply getting screwed up for a weekend away. Even if I wasn't breastfeeding, I wouldn't want to spend a weekend away from her right now. Roll your eyes if you will, but I'm not going to apologize for that.

In fact, I think breastfeeding gives me a lot more freedom. I can be out running errands and not have to worry about whether I brought enough bottles, getting the bottles heated up or rushing home because I've been out longer than expected. If we're out longer than expected and she gets hungry, I grab my blanket, find a chair and feed her. We're going to Ireland for a week - I don't have to worry about whether I'm bringing enough formula or how I'm going to feed her on the plane.

Then there's those who comment about how they can't believe I'm still breastfeeding. Or that I must be planning to give it up when she gets her first tooth. Or (and this one I love) make a disgusted face directly at me when I say that I may continue to breastfeed beyond a year.

I feel like telling them, that for the record, breastfeeding is encouraged until the baby is 2 years old (and beyond) by the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. That's the organization that sets guidelines that, oh you know, Health Canada, our doctors and nurses abide by. So I'm not wrong. Or gross. Or doing something unnatural. It's the best option for nutrition. It's very natural. And it's created an amazing bond between Maddie and I.

Sorry for the out-of-the-blue soap box rant - but a conversation I had today had me listing all the pros of breastfeeding to someone - and I'm tired of feeling like I have to explain myself. So the rant has built up for a while ... and during my sneeze attack this afternoon, this post was born...


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This whole BPA thing sucks

It's official. Health Canada has labeled BPA (Bisephenol A) a dangerous substance. That means my Avent pump, Avent bottles, and Avent pacifiers are all 'dangerous substances'. I'm pissed.

I'm pissed even though Maddie very rarely uses bottles, that she still has been potentially exposed in the limited amount we have used them.

I'm pissed because I love my pump and I use it daily and don't want to have to buy another one.
But mainly, I'm pissed because they should not be frigging making shit that is dangerous at all, much less stuff that OUR BABIES USE DAILY.

And I can't believe that Avent, as a company, has not responded to it's consumers yet. Is there going to be massive recall? Are there going to be any concessions made by them about making so many of their items in this type of plastic?

One good thing that I found out about today is that Zellers is taking all Avent bottles back and giving a full store credit for them. How's that for classy? Apparently Toys R Us is doing the same thing - but not on the pumps yet. So I can get my bottles exchanged for Born Free or some other brand, but then what do I pump into?

I'm beyond annoyed that I have to a) worry about this, b) take the time to fix this, and c) feel guilty about the exposure Maddie has seen in the past.

And one question I have for Health Canada that is a little off topic, but got me thinking with all this talk about 'dangerous substances'. When are they going to label cigarettes a dangerous substance?? I mean, to be fair, they too are cancer-causing products. Why aren't they going to be labeled a dangerous substance, be yanked from the shelves and outlawed from being sold anymore. Just saying...


She slept through!!!

I can't believe I'm even writing this, thinking about where we were just a little over a month ago with her sleeping habits. But yes, we put Miss Maddie down just after 8pm and aside from one wake up at 10am (screaming her head off for no discernible reason - she even had the binkie in her mouth while she screamed - weirdo) she slept until almost 6am without me having to go into her room at all. There were a few 'shouts' throughout the night, but unless I just slept through her cries (not possible) she really did sleep for the majority of the night. How fabulous is that? I feel like I may be jinxing myself ... but it's felt like we've been moving in this direction for a while as the improvements have continued - so maybe we're really getting here for real. Again, how fabulous is that?

In other news...
  • With all these improving sleep habits, it means that Seth can now put Maddie down to sleep ... and that, my friends, is more fabulous news. It means that I don't always have to be the 'put-to-sleep-er', that I can go out for an afternoon guilt-free - knowing that she isn't sleepless and miserable until I get home. And Seth is pretty chuffed about it as well - proud as a peacock this weekend he was.
  • Maddie pooped in the bath for the first time last night. Hahhaaha - how glad am I that Daddy does the bath, all I had to do was come and grab her with the towel while he got to clean up the mess!
  • We got our lawn aerated yesterday. I felt very suburban as I stood on my driveway with Maddie in her stroller, discussing the merits of fertilizer and aeration with my neighbour. Kind of weird in that, try-to-imagine-your-life-in-a-year weird ... no way I figured things would change THIS much! ;)
  • I am taking Maddie to the zoo on Thursday - since she gets such a kick out of watching our cats I can't imagine how cool she'll think the zoo is.
Well that's all for now - enjoy your day!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Belly sleeping

Our little Miss Maddie has started to sleep on her belly as of last night. She actually slept almost all the way through the night. She slept from 9 to 2am, was up very briefly and then back down until 8am (I KNOW! Shocking) ... I'm not sure if it was because she was just exhausted from our weekend visitors or she actually does sleep that much better on her belly? And honestly - how cute is she sleeping like that? Yes, those are a million binkies you see floating around her - she's a pro at finding one and putting it back in now - my little genius...

We spent the weekend having Grandma and Grandpa Vallier up visiting us. They were nice enough to babysit for us while we went out to a friend's birthday party in the city on Friday night - that was a blast, but I 'enjoyed' myself a little too much, making Saturday a bit more difficult to face than it needed to be.

Monday we start our first baby signing class - I'm excited about it, although I wish it was not smack dab in the middle of her morning (and best) nap time ... we'll see how it goes.

Other than that, we're just enjoying the beautiful weather we've been getting - going outside for walks often and exploring our neighbourhood a little more. I bought a jogging stroller off kijiji this weekend, which means yes, I am that mother than owns 3 strollers. Whatever. Now I can go for long walks (or runs!) and not feel like she's going to be 'bumped' to death.

In other news - the Ireland trip is booked and Liz is joining us - woo hoo! That is in the first week of June - so coming up fast and furious on us. May is looking to be pretty busy with a trip to Kingston coming up in the first week and a trip to Bancroft for the long weekend. That's a lot of traveling around for Miss Maddie before our overseas trip - hopefully it will get her used to sleeping in her playpen (sorry, play yard).

Hope you all enjoyed this fabulous weather and had a wonderful weekend as well!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eat your heart out, Martha!

My fellow MarthaStewartclone friends (you know who you are!) will roll their eyes at this post ... but I couldn't not post about how proud of myself I am!

I, Sara Vallier, non-chef extraordinaire, have made a total of 4 batches of baby food this week. That's right. Homemade baby food. I am a domestic goddess.

In all seriousness - I don't really have an issue with the store-bought baby food - especially as there are so many great organic options out there at the same price (Heinz and President's Choice are the ones I've found). And most of the stuff we've tried tastes just like you would expect it would. Pears taste like, well, ground up pears. Squash tastes like squash. Sweet potatoes like sweet potatoes and so on and so on. But there are a few things - like bananas - they're a weird beige colour and I wonder about their taste. Peas - they taste just like mushy peas from a can (I have never understood why canned peas are so incredibly different from frozen - it's strange). And well, the selection is very good, but still limited to the main 'staples' (pears, peaches, apples, prunes / sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, peas) ...

So we started Maddie on these jars as her first solids, but I quickly decided I would also make some food for her that we can't necessarily find in the stores (like avocado or banana - which you can just freeze in chunks, and mash + serve as needed), or to make it more 'fresh' than what the store-bought options are (i.e. peas - I steamed some frozen peas and blended those - they are bright green and taste like fresh peas would taste!).

So far, I've made a big batch of pears (as these are one of Maddie's favourite foods so far), peas (mmm bright-green-freshness), carrots and green beans. I've also frozen chunks of banana - that she loves to eat from her mesh food feeder - great teether option, and keeps her occupied in her high chair while we eat dinner - and I have avocado sitting on my counter ripening as we speak. My plan this weekend is to head to the grocery store and pick up some more veggies and fruits that you can't find in jar form and make those (like apricots, melon, kiwi, zucchini, broccoli and beets).

And my one tip to any of you that may think about making baby food in the future - they say use a blender or food processor ... well - use a blender! At least at first, if you want it to be a smooth texture. I didn't realize this - so our first batches of carrots and peas probably won't be given to her until she has a few teeth and can sort of chew. It's very fine granules, but still - I wouldn't want to be swallowing it without something to wash each bite down with! So yeah - use a blender...

Here's Maddie's 'scorecard' so far...
  • rice cereal - likes okay - prefers when mixed w/ a fruit or veggie
  • oatmeal cereal - really not a fan - but will eat it if mixed w/ a lot of fruit/veggie
  • pears - LOVES
  • prunes - LOVES LOVES LOVES - yes, that's right, I would actually say that prunes are Maddie's #1 favourite food so far - how funny is that?
  • apples - really likes
  • peaches - likes, but initial reaction is always a puckered up face - I can't figure it out - maybe peaches are a bit sour at first taste?
  • sweet potatoes - LOVES
  • butternut squash - really likes (and I HATE squash, so good on her!)
  • carrots - likes, but again, not in the "LOVE" realm
  • peas - so far, not so much a fan ... but I never really liked canned peas either, so I don't blame her
  • bananas - LOVES (but she's only really eaten fresh so far, we'll see how the one jar of bananas we have goes over - it looks weird...)
  • water - not a food, but thought I'd add it to the list as she LOVES LOVES LOVES it. Actually quite obsessed with anyone drinking a glass of water and really enjoys taking 'big girl' sips from the glass. She sticks her little tongue into the water like she's a cat - it's more than amusing.
I'll update you all in a few weeks once we've tried out some new foods on her - see if she has a new favourite...


PS - be thankful that I refrained from going into detail about how all these solids have changed her poop...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend update

This past weekend was a mellow one for the Vallier family. We rented a couple of movies on Friday night, got some take out pizza and just relaxed. Maddie was in bed by 8-ish, so we popped in the first movie: There Will Be Blood - I was so looking forward to this as I love love love Daniel Day Lewis, but I was bored to tears. Literally ended up going to bed early and leaving Seth to watch the end on his own as the movie was THAT boring. Either I'm getting dumber by the minute, or these "masterpieces" are too smart for their own good. And what's up with all the 'dark' movies this year? No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, The Assassination of Jesse James, Atonement, Gone Baby Gone - everything is so somber. Some good, entertaining movies in that list, but just so depressing.

Anyways - Saturday morning I got Maddie up at 7-ish so she'd be ready to go back down for a nap before I left for the gym. Thankfully the plan worked - and Maddie was fast asleep by the time Liz came to pick me up at 9:15 and we headed off to the Body Pump class that thankfully I wasn't too stiff for.

Daddy and Maddie were playing when I got home, so we all quickly got dressed and headed out to Chapters to buy Miss Madds some new books. We were getting a little bored with the ones we had been reading her, and it was an excuse for me to go spend some money at Chapters - yay! We grabbed lunch at Shamrock Burger (GREAT homemade burgers - yum!) and got home just as Maddie was waking up from her afternoon car-ride nap. So while I did some laundry we put in the 2nd movie we had rented - Atonement. Not a movie to try and watch while a baby is playing (and babbling, and squealing, and shouting) in front of you on the carpet. Wasn't the easiest movie to follow when only 50% of my attention was focussed on it - but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Especially the latter half - when Maddie was fast asleep for her late afternoon nap upstairs!

Seth watched some of the hockey game that night and I went to bed early (the excitement just never ends here - wow, we sound so old now) ... then Sunday hit and kicked our asses. Poor Maddie was just miserable - she barely slept all Saturday night and Sunday morning saw her grumpy, tired and in lots of pain. She did get a good morning nap in (probably due to the 4am Motrin dose I gave her) - but the afternoon was a shambles. Trying to get things on the 'to do' list while trying to keep a teething baby happy is difficult at best. Add to the mix, her inability to sleep in the afternoon, and now we have a teething, grumpy baby. Woo hoo! By 7pm we were all exhausted and so we quickly did Maddie's dinner, bath, boob, bed routine and she was out like a light by 8pm. As in - didn't wake up AT ALL until 4am. So I guess that's what we have to do to get some sleep at night - just keep her awake ALL DAY. Poor monkey - I feel bad for her and like I posted before, can't wait until she finally pops these teeth - we'll all be much happier.

On the brighter side of life - Maddie continues to grow up right before our eyes. She babbles constantly now - really has lots to say, it's pretty funny. And as much as her teeth are bothering her - she's still full of smiles and giggles for a game of peek-a-boo, when the "Mommy Monster" snuffles her, or during bath time (she really plays her heart out in the bath now!).

She started a new sound this weekend - it's not really a squeal, just her figuring out higher pitches that her voice can make I think - take a look - it's pretty cute...


Sunday, April 13, 2008

I love being a mommy, but... soooooooooooooo done with teething. So it's been over a week since she's been teething "hard" (she's been gnawing on stuff and sticking her fist in her mouth for at least a month prior to all this) and I'm exhausted, frustrated and feeling really bad for her (and myself).

She doesn't sleep well - either at night (but hey, we were used to that!) or during the day. She's not happy unless she's got something in her mouth, but even then, seems to be whining or crying more often than not.

Don't get me wrong - I feel awful for our little monkey. I give her ice cubes in her mesh feeder, cold washclothes, frozen or chilled teethers. I give her Motrin, Tylenol, Camilia (homeopathic teething remedy) and Oral Gel. Some of these remedies work for a bit, then we're back to whiny, grumpy Maddie.

Seriously - how long can this go on for?? I think I can feel the teeth under her gums (but I'm no dentist - could just be wishful thinking), but can't see anything and they don't look red or inflamed.

I realize I'm being a bit of a whiner myself - but after 2 months of horrible sleeping and now this - I just want a few good days (and sleeps!). Just a few non-dramatic, non-grumpy days strung together would be nice. Then I wouldn't feel so much like selling her to the gypsies. That's right. I said it...



Friday, April 11, 2008

Adventures at the gym

Yesterday was a tough day for us. The couple of days of (relative) relief from teething pain seemed to be revisited ten-fold on Maddie yesterday. She was just a grump all day pretty much. She cried her way through the breastfeeding group (fun!), and then promptly passed out like a drunken sailor in her stroller while I waited in line at the Passport Office to get her forms filed.

We got home and she (of course) woke up the minute I turned the car off in the garage. So we played some more (my thinking: tire the little monkey out so she'll take her late-afternoon nap earlier and maybe sleep longer so she won't be a nightmare at the gym)...

Yep, it was our first attempt at the gym daycare. And I almost chickened out of going a few times, because I was so worried that Maddie would just cry her way through the entire hour. I brought her toys, and her 'sitting up pillow', and some water in a sippy cup, and her "makeseverythingallbetter" glow worm. I filled out the forms, paid my $5 to the gym and looked around the daycare area in horror as 2 toddlers toddled about, 2 babies crawled around, and one little boy was running around on a clear sugar high. I was leaving my little monkey in the jungle without any defenses. She can't crawl, she doesn't know what's going on. She's groggy and grumpy and by 7:30 when the class ends, she'll be STARVING.

Luckily Liz was there laughing at my reticence to leave her, and I think it was mostly pride that made me mumble out some last minute instructions to the daycare girl, give Maddie a million good-bye-mommy-will-be-back-soon kisses, and walk out of there.

I was actually able to take my mind off of it for the majority of the class - but when 7:30 came I couldn't get packed up and back to the daycare area fast enough.

And there was Maddie - sitting in the daycare ladies arms. Eyes a little red-rimmed from some cries earlier, but acting pretty mellow - and VERY happy to see me (yay!). Apparently she spent the first half hour or so just watching the kids running around (doesn't surprise me - she loves people-watching - nosy parker like her mom). And then started to get cranky... yeah, that didn't surprise me either.

Overall, neither of us were worse for wear. Not something that I'd like to do every time I went to the gym, but at least I now know she will survive if I leave her with (qualified) strangers for a short period of time...

Oh and the workout? Brutal! But at least I can walk today - so hopefully I actually will be able to make it to the gym on Saturday morning this week.

Happy Friday everyone! It's a rainy, stay inside and cuddle day for us - hope your day is just as good.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dear Miss Maddie,

You are six months old today. Wow - where has the time gone? It feels like only the other day that you were an itty bitty cuddle bum. Yet, at the same time - it feels like you've been here with us forever. We've come a long way baby...

You are now play play playing all the time when you're awake. You love dancing in your jolly jumper (especially when Mommy dances right along with you - our current favourite album is Feist), you giggle every time I give you kisses up and down your sides, you still enjoy Itsy Bitsy Spider (I hope you never get tired of that), and now really like doing Patty Cake (although you haven't quite gotten the whole 'clap' thing yet).

You've learned so much this month - you can sit up now! We still put a pillow behind you, but it only took a few days for you to really master this skill and you LOVE sitting and playing with your toys. You also love your exersaucer (thanks Rob & Vone - we'll give it back someday I promise!) - you can sit in it for a half hour happy as a clam. You're loving the Baby Einstein videos now - it's like a big long book with moving pages!

This past month you've learned to sleep in your crib on your own (and go to sleep on your own - trust me, when you have your own baby you'll realize how HUGE this is!), you've started eating solid food (and love everything so far!!), and love to talk. You babble all day long - to me, to your 'friends' on your stroller, to Tigger, to the cats - to pretty much anyone who listens.

And you are trying so hard to learn to crawl - you do what we call "the inch-worm" when you're on your tummy - pushing your bum up in the air while you push with your legs. You haven't got the strength to lift your belly up in the air yet, so you are going anywhere just yet. Which is just as well, as I'm not sure I'm ready for you to be mobile - not just yet anyways.

Last but not least - I wish I could tell you that you've popped your bottom teeth out - but not yet monkey... I wish that you would as I hate to see you in so much pain - it breaks my heart when you chew on your fingers and look at me and do the "uh uh uh uh uh" sound that I know means - "Mommy, I'm miserable, my teeth hurt and I don't like it!". I give you cold washclothes, frozen teethers - anything to chew on that seems to give you a bit of relief. But trust me, I want those teeth to get her just as badly as you do! Although I will miss your adorable scrunched-up face that you make when the pain is bothering you.

This month is going to be fun - we're starting baby sign language classes, we started Babyville last week (you love to be around other babies, so you're having a blast), and with the warmer weather we're going to be outside A LOT (Mommy needs the exercise!).

We love you a tonne monkey. And it's been a blast watching you grow into your little personality so far. I can't wait to see what this month brings...

Love Mommy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What we've been up to

I know the past few (dozen?) posts have centered around Maddie's sleep/teething/sleep habits ... sorry if I've sounded like a bit of a broken record. And in the heart of making sure this continues to be a family journal, I decided we were probably due for an update post. So - here's what we've been up to...
  • Seth has just started his 2nd week of his new job - he's liking it more and more everyday as he gets to know his accounts, gets an idea of how to schedule each day and in general just gets to know his job more. He's definitely happier when he comes home from work - which is great to see!
  • Maddie and I joined a Babyville group that just started last week. It's a new mom-group hosted by Durham Public Health and is based in Brooklin, so it's a pretty small group (like 7 moms in total) - but everyone seems really nice and friendly. So that's where we'll be for next 8 Tuesdays between 1:30 and 3pm.
  • The nicer weather means we've been trying to get out for walks more often - I can't wait for it to get even warmer as Maddie has been loving the outdoors time we've had so far.
  • Speaking of the nicer weather - Seth's BBQ'd the past 2 nights for dinner already - we're both enjoying that aspect of home-ownership!
  • I've discovered a spot for guilt-free shopping - it's called "Once Upon a Child" and they sell gently used children's clothing, toys, books etc. I bought Maddie 6 outfits yesterday, all Baby Gap or Old Navy - some with the original tags still on - for less than $40. I don't think I'll buy another 'brand-new' article of clothing for her for a while....
  • Maddie's really enjoying watching the Baby Einstein videos we got from Aunt Marlene. They're like crack for her - she stares at the screen while sitting in her exersaucer like a little cracked out zombie baby. I don't really get what the appeal is - but it provides her with 15-30 minutes of enjoyment (and me with time to get stuff done in the kitchen), so we're going with it...
  • I'm make a list of all the 'things' I want to accomplish this spring - yikes, it's long. But with her sleeping better during the day (knock on wood!) and playing on her own a bit, I should be able to start tackling some of those projects that have been bugging me for a while.
  • Speaking of things 'to do' - I've got to start looking into daycare options this week. Yikes - I can't believe I have to go back to work in less than 6 months. Scary...
  • What else? My friend is trying to convince me to go visit her in Ireland. It would be a trip without Seth, which I'm a little nervous about - but she had a great point when she said it was a great opportunity - Maddie is still pretty portable traveling-wise, and when will I have the time off again? Now we just have to see to getting her a passport...
That's all I can think of right now ... hope all is well with you friends + family! Our love to everyone...


Monday, April 7, 2008

Maddie says...

  • Rice cereal mixed with peaches is goooooooood. So good that I don't think I can open my mouth wide enough.
  • Baby Einstein videos are a bit like crack - but what the hell is up with that lion puppet? Is that supposed to be a roar? I'm not sure...
  • Yes, those grunts coming from the backseat of the car are me pooping. This solid food is making it a bit harder for me to go. See my face - that's concentration!
  • I like my new Avent soother - why didn't you give me this one in the first place?
  • Give me another teether - this one isn't cold anymore. Come on woman - I will start uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-ing until you get it for me.

I *heart* Infant's Motrin

Instead of baby Tylenol, I gave Maddie Infant's Motrin last night before she went to bed. (Aside: she was WIDE awake when I put her down in her crib last night, and we only heard a few whimpers before all fell silent in the little miss' room - yesss!!)

She woke up at 9:15 for a binkie reinsertion - although I'm not entirely certain her eyes were open at all during this process. I need a new nightlight for her room - the one I have is too bright and when I cover it partially with the curtain I a) worry about fires and b) can't see her properly in the dimness.

I then woke up at midnight to a crying baby. After my requisite bathroom trip, I headed towards her room in a sleepy haze, only to realize that she had stopped crying.

Rinse and repeat for 2:30am - except I actually made it into her room with binkie in hand for insertion - I get to her crib and there she lays, on her side, peacefully sleeping. I was like a deer caught in the headlights. What do a I do? How do I sneak out with this blasted creaky floor? It took me 10 minutes of tiptoeing and shifting weight slowly to get out of the room (never mind that I lumbered INTO the room half asleep and with no regard for her sleeping and this didn't affect her in the least...).

Then at 4:30 I got the call - the real, I'mawakeI'mawakeI'mawake comegetmecomegetme cry. I got to the room, quickly fed her and instead of falling asleep on the boob, she was laying there wide eyed. I was like, right. What to do? I didn't talk to her - just gave a quick dose of Tylenol, kissed her on the forehead and laid her in her crib. She rolled to her side, grabbed her lovey and continued the wide-eyed stare. I'm like, okay. I guess I'll leave and for sure she'll summon me back in 5 minutes.

Nope - didn't hear from her again until 6-ish - and I didn't even bother getting out of bed for that one. She didn't 'officially' wake up until 8am. And that's after Daddy checked on her at 6:45am (creaky floor Seth - what are you thinking!?!).

So to make a long story short - I'm more rested after last night than I have been in a looooooong time. Was it the baby Motrin? Was it the different binkie we gave her? Was it getting hardly any naps yesterday day? I don't know. I just hope we can replicate it tonight...


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ooooooh my teeth hurt!

This is Maddie's newest face she makes. We think it's specifically related to her teething pain of late and wanted to document it before she stopped making it.
Actually a lot cuter in person - especially as it's accompanied by a "oooooooohhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeewwwwwww" sound.


Daddy's are cool

It is official. Daddy can now make Maddie giggle. I'm not sure who this makes happier. Maddie, me or Daddy. I vote Daddy.


Snoring dads beware

I have secret fantasies of ripping out your hangy-ball thing (the "uvula" - thanks Wikipedia!) at the back of your throat. Or whatever it is that is vibrating in there (what the HELL is a deviated septum anyways?) to make you snore so loudly that I feel the walls shake.

People who snore always have the excuse - I can't HELP it that I snore. I don't WANT to snore. No, you don't - probably not anyways. Although, since it doesn't affect you, I don't really know if I believe that you care one way or the other.

But just TRY to look at it from my perspective. I'm up in the middle of the night a gazillion times with a teething baby. She's fussing, crying, snuffling like a little snuffaluffagus and after 15 minutes of back rubbing and 'shhhhh-ing' I'm able to get her back to sleep.

So I return to bed to lay there and try to put myself back to sleep with a "snaaarrrrrrrrr, rufunkle, snaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrr, errrrrfffffnnn, snaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr" beside me.

I poke you. You roll onto your side. Peace at last.

Then magically. Like you want to show me a new trick, I hear, "snaaaaaarrrrrRRRRRRR". What the? How are you snoring while on your SIDE? I thought that was impossible?

I elbow you. You grunt angrily and stop.

I continue to lay there trying to fall back asleep. And 45 minutes later, I do. Only to wake up in 15 minutes to our little girl screaming again. And while I'm in her room trying to calm her down, you clearly take this empty bed opportunity to roll back onto your back and start the snoring olympics again. I can hear you from her room.

Hence the above fantasies. And the resentment. You can kind of understand it, no?


Saturday, April 5, 2008


...pulling your binkie out if you need it to sleep. Seriously. I don't mind acting as a 'binkie retriever' for those times that you get into a deep sleep and it falls out and you can't find it in the middle of the night. But when you pull it out because you want to play with something with your hands while you drift off? Not fair. Just. Not. Fair.

Short-lived sleep phenomenon

The blessed 1-2 hour naps are a thing of the past. I don't know if that was just a short-lived burst of sleepiness or what. But I don't think I changed anything - she's just back to her 1/2 hour routine - even when sleeping in our bed. Boo that. I was so enjoying my happy, sleep-filled little girl. And the time that her longer naps afforded me to get other things done around the house.

And we have also entered the "official" teething arena. Whatever I thought teething was before (chewing on things constantly, short bursts of irritability), this trumps it and trumps it some more. She's grumpy. She's constantly got her finger(s) in her mouth. She wants to chew on anything and everything (the colder the better). She won't (can't) nurse without some numbing oral gel first. And she won't let me touch her mouth as I am constantly checking to see if *finally* something has broken through yet. It hasn't. And all that does is make her cry.

I was up to her room 6 times by 2am last night. Oral gel before the binkie reinsertion. Back rubs until fully asleep for a distressed little girl. Nursing far more often than normal as this seems to chill her out.

By 2am though, I was dying (and my shaking legs felt like they were going to fall off), so we kicked Daddy out of bed and brought Maddie in (oh - the injustice of it all). Whatever, don't feel too sorry for him - he got to sleep the rest of the night uninterrupted in the guest room. And Maddie continued to wake up every hour crying - but at least she was within arms reach, not down the hall, and she was (slightly) easier to calm back down to sleep.

We continue with the grumpiness today and I expect the non-sleeping will continue until those little bottom teeth finally break through. God, I hope this is the final stage of what has felt like months on end of teething ... I mean really, this stage can't last that long, right??


PS - have finally figured out how to download our videos to the computer - which means we will be posting some vids of our little girl soon (and more often)...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fatty at the gym

Don't worry, I'm not talking about Maddie. It's actually me - the lardopotomus that just started going to the gym "officially" (meaning to a class that made me work my ass off - pun intended) as of last evening.

I'm going with Liz and our goal is 3 days a week to a Body Pump class, or something similar (because we all know they push you way harder in those classes than you'd ever push yourself).

So we did "Awesome Abs" for 15 minutes and followed that with a 60 min class of Body Pump - essentially lifting weights, doing squats and sit ups to music while an instructor yells at you to "push yourself", "find your core", and "work it" every few minutes.

Actually, I looked forward to it all day long. Within minutes of being in the class though, I was berating myself and what I've let myself become. I know my pants fit a lot more tightly than they ever did before (muffin top ALL the way around - sexy!), my belly looks like a deflated balloon and my ass - as The Donald would say, "it's HUUUUUUUGE". But I guess I still had the picture in my head of the size/shape that I used to be. And that little fantasy was severely snuffed out last night - especially watching my "form" in the mirror - yikes... belly, ass, thighs and sausage arms everywhere....

So yeah - it needs to be fixed. I'm now starting the process - and I WILL get myself back to this (although 'technically' in this pic I was preggo):

Today I can't walk. Stairs are torture. Especially going down. Can't wait until Sunday...


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

6 month stats

Maddie went for her 6 month doctor's appointment today and got her 3 round of immunization shots (took it like a champ - barely any crying this time - big girl!!).

She weighed in at 14lbs 6oz and was 26 inches long (I KNEW she went through a growth spurt recently!). So still in the 25th percentile for weight and just slightly over the 50th percentile for height.

She's slept quite a bit today so far - I think the shots do that to them. Nothing else to report - all is well in the Vallier household...


PS - except I'm aching all over like I'm coming down with something - I don't want to be sick again!

PPS - and Maddie just (literally, as I wrote this post) started banging her teether on her exersaucer. That's new - hitting stuff off of other stuff. I expect our house is about to get quite noisy...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Things changing overnight

Things have totally changed overnight for us here (no pun intended!). It seems like our little baby has changed into a little girl!

She's now rolling from back to belly all the time. Although she still isn't quite sure how to get from belly to back, so she often gets 'stuck' on her belly - I'm sure she'll figure it out soon though!

She is also sitting up on her own quite well. I still have to put a pillow behind her to alleviate the head trauma of falling backwards every once and a while, but this is a skill that it seems like she mastered in all of 2 days. I'm guessing it's all the time she spends in the jolly jumper and exersaucer that got her practiced up for sitting on her own - who knows - but she love love loves it - a new way to play with her toys and look at the world!

We also have a little chatterbox on our hands now - this just started last Friday while I was in the grocery store. I'm not sure if she was bored or tired or what, but there I was pushing the cart, when she started going "Ay yayyayayayyyaayaa, Baa bababababababa, Ayyaaayayayay". It cracked me up - I was literally laughing out loud for the last 10 minutes of shopping while she just babbled away. It could be one of the coolest developments so far - I just wish I knew what she was saying, because I know it's something. She just looks at you so ernestly, babbling away, you know she's trying to tell you something.

And last but not least ... the SLEEP! It started late last week - I was nursing her upstairs in our bed and like usual, she was falling asleep, but I wasn't tired at all and the thoughts of all the things I needed to do around the house before the weekend kept running through my mind. I laid with her for a bit, then decided to take the chance of sneaking out of the bed and seeing how long she would sleep on her own. Turns out - 2 HOURS! Thus began our new nap routine for Maddie. I nurse her in our bed, wait for her to fall asleep and then sneak out. She sleeps on her own in the middle of our bed for 1-2 hours at a time. I know I need to get her into her crib for her naps - but for now I don't care. She's so much happier getting 3 solid naps a day. I'm able to get things done around the house. It's fantastic.

And on the sleep front - after considering how well she was sleeping in our bed, I started to think of how I could replicate that for her crib - so she could sleep better at night. Our bed has a soft pillow top, which in my opinion is way more comfortable than the hard-as-a-rock crib mattress that she has - and probably a big cause for the difference in sleep between our bed and the crib. I mean, she's learned to sleep 'on her own' - just not in her own bed yet. So I took the comforter blanket we had from the crib bedding set and put it down on the mattress and pulled the fitted sheet over it. Kind of like a makeshift pillow top for her crib mattress. I'm sure the SIDS police would have a field day with that, but I think she's gotten strong enough to pull her head up if she needed to.

The first night we tried this, she woke up 3 times - midnight (found her own binkie and put it back in herself and went back to sleep without me entering the room), 3:30 (for a feed) and 6:45 (to get up for the day). Last night wasn't as great - I felt like I was in and out of her room 6 times by 2am. But then she work up at 4-ish and had already put herself back to sleep before I got to her room, then up again at 6-ish (I think she's hearing Seth getting ready for work - which she'll just have to get used to). So we've finally got her spending the whole night in her crib - and hopefully these numerous night wakings will start to fade away. The crazy thing is though, is that she is actually going to bed awake - very sleepy, but awake. She rolls on her side, grabs her lovey and pets him until her eyes start to shut. From the crying of just 2 weeks ago, or the 2 hour routine of just 4 weeks ago, this is crazy different! It's like she's decided sleep isn't such a bad thing - perhaps all my hard work paid off (although I expect it's more of a 'she grew out of her sleep issue' type thing).

I'll leave you with a cute pic of our little family from Saturday night (Seth's 30th birthday party) - it was a good time and it was great to have a bunch of our friends up to visit. I miss entertaining - can't wait for the nice weather to come so we can do more of it!