Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mourning into Dancing

This morning I was feeding Daisy, and a song popped into my head that I used to sing at church growing up. "He's turned my mourning into dancing again. He's lifted my sorrows. I can't stay silent. I must sing for His joy has come." 

I thought about how much sorrow and suffering I felt in my days of infertility, and how much joy I feel now with Daisy. I used to say, "A baby won't make me happy," but that's not true. Having Daisy makes me very happy. Nothing seems as dark or difficult in the light of being given a child. 

I had given up hope of having a baby. A couple days before I found out I was pregnant, I wrote this in my diary: 
"This week has been a struggle to be deeply happy. We had a fun office adventure at the Corn Maze on Wednesday, but other than that I've been pretty depressed. I really want a kid. Fall is difficult. I so want to announce pregnancy at a holiday event, but I think I need to forget that. 
"I've been really sad this week. Lots of babies being born and pregnancies announced.  
"God help me. It will never end. The sting of infertility is so strong and it lasts. Can Your joy overcome it? Is that possible?" 

God's joy has overcome the sting of infertility. It took a while, but that sorrow is completely gone now. This morning I thought, "Wow, He really did turn my mourning into dancing. He really did lift my sorrows."

It took a while because I was so hard-hearted that God wouldn't answer my prayer for a baby. When He did answer it, my heart wasn't immediately softened. I still feared miscarriage or other bad things.

A friend recently told me that she has hope that God will answer her prayer for a deep desire to be met, because of the tangible evidence of her answered prayers in my life. I felt convicted, because I hadn't felt the same assurance of His faithfulness, and I was the example of it! In my fear of bad things happening and observation of other unanswered prayers, I've ignored the big "YES" that is Daisy. The big, "Hey, Deborah, guess what? I gave you what you asked for...again!" (God's answered lots of prayers with yes's in my life, Zane and Daisy being two big ones.)

I looked up the verse that the worship song was based on, Psalm 30:11-12:
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." 
I will give Him thanks forever.

There will likely be other valleys of darkness in the future, but when they come, I can look back and remember how God turned my sorrow into joy before. He can always do it again. I hope that He will give me the grace to remember.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Toilet Training: Week 1

It's been one full week since I decided to undergo infant toilet training. First week feedback:

We averaged two catches a day for poops and zero for pees. However, we attempted many more times than that. On several occasions I noticed her signals for needing to poop, but when we got to the toilet, she didn't do it. I figured I misread the signs, gave up, and put a diaper on her. Then about five minutes later, she'd poop. I think it's a timing thing more than preference on her part. Five minutes is a long time to hold a baby over the toilet, so I don't think the answer isn't to wait longer. For every catch, I'd say there was at least one unsuccessful attempt. That's a lot of toting baby to the bathroom.

So many unsuccessful attempts resulted in one day of no effort on my part. Friday I noticed her signs throughout the day, but I was too lazy to take her. I second-guessed myself and didn't want to sit there for a long time without success, so I just changed her dipes that day.

But every time I thought she was about to poop, and then she did, I counted it a success in observation.

The first blog I read about toilet training was written by a woman whose six-week old baby pooped twice a day. Daisy poops more like six times a day at least, and she's eight weeks now.

My sister in China told me that the ladies at her orphanage don't start training until four months old. China is one of the countries that practices infant toilet training in the majority of homes, so I guess they know what they're doing. Daisy's not quite two months.

My conclusion after this week of training: I'm taking it easy until she's four months old and/or has fewer poops a day. I'll take her to the bathroom when I feel like it and just clean up the rest.

I think I'm going to start cloth diapers soon too. I'm more scared of that than toilet training!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Maternity Leave Rocks

I've been comparing maternity leave to summer break when you're in school...except for the taking care of an infant part. Other than that, it's a lot like summer break. Let's take a look at the similarities: 

1. I get to sleep in...kind of. I wake up early to feed the baby, but then go back to sleep, so sometimes I'm not really up until like 10:00am. 

2. Wear pajamas all day. If I'm not leaving the house, I'm not going to make the extra effort of wearing a bra. That gets annoying if I have to walk the dog or put a letter in the mailbox. 

3. Watch TV all day. Okay, not all day, but I have made it into season three of Drop Dead Diva. I'm also halfway through season one of Doc Martin, and I just started The Wonder Years. 

4. Flex meals. Cereal for lunch? Sure. Random food at random times? No problem. 

5. Read all day. Okay, I'm not reading all day either. But I have knocked out a big chunk of Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones, part 3). 

6. No cooking. That's thanks to all the sweet people in my life who brought us meals! We had so much food that we froze a bunch of it and are still eating it for dinners.

7. Lots of naps. I might not be able to properly sleep in, but I do get to take naps with Daisy throughout the day. 

8. Spend time with friends and family. August is the month where several out-of-town family members come to visit, which means lots of fun for us. This year I got to contribute my own offspring to the kid club. 

9. Spend time with Daisy. Okay, I never did that during summer breaks, but that's what makes maternity leave way better than any summer break during school. I get to spend quality time with this sweet girl. 

We have lots of fun during the day just living life. By "living life", I mean breastfeeding, diaper changes, tummy time, infant toilet training, staring at each other, snuggling, smiling, laughing, crying, and taking naps. We live a full life. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DIY Baby Wipes

This recipe and get-started set was given to me by a friend at church. I wanted to share it with everyone, because it's a great way to save some money, but I don't want to present it as my own idea. I'm just passing this great idea along.

Materials Needed:
sturdy paper towels (I use Viva Kleenex towels)
tall plastic container with a vented lid (I have a Sterilite 12oz square one)
2 TBS baby wash
2 TBS baby oil
2 TBS baby lotion
2 cups hot water

Step 1: Saw paper towel rolls in half. (Save yourself time by doing it the easier way)

I honestly don't know the best way to do this, but we used a circular saw to cut ours. We smashed the towel flat. Then I held one edge and repeated the words, "Don't saw my hands" to Zane. He kept saying, "I won't!" Then he cut them in half (the towels, not my hands). Notice all the white fluffy towel dust - it was everywhere!

The second from the left on the bottom row was our first try. I had to trim that one up a little. 

Step 2: Make wipe solution. 

Heat water in the microwave for about two minutes. Pour into plastic container and add the baby ingredients. Mix well.

Step 3: Soak towels. 

Place the half-towel role in the wipe solution with the clean, non-sawed edge down. Let it sit for five minutes. Then flip the towel over, sawed edge down. Let sit for a few more minutes.
Sawed edge up

Sawed edge down. Notice the towels coming apart due to the solution. 

Step 4: Pull out the cardboard center.

Step 5: Pull the center towel through the vent hole of the container lid. Use at the next diaper change!

I've only experienced a couple drawbacks. Sometimes the paper towel falls back into the container, so you have to open it up and thread it through again. Also, the towel comes out bunched up from being pulled through the hole, so you have to spread it out before using it. Store-bought wipes remove more flatly. Other than that, these are great! You can easily make them organic by replacing the ingredients with whatever you want. 

Here's my estimated cost breakdown: 
Towels: $.63  (8-pack for $10, then cut them all in half) 
Baby Oil: $.20  ($3.00 for a 15oz bottle)
Baby Lotion: $.20  ($3.00 for a 15oz bottle)
Baby Wash: $.20  ($3.00 for a 15oz bottle)

Total cost per roll: $1.23
Total cost per wipe: $.12 (Kleenex Viva has 100 towels per roll)
One time set-up cost: $8.00 (container)

A bulk 9-count box of wipes costs about $14, making the cost per pack of 60 wipes is about $1.50, which is $.25 per wipe, which is DOUBLE the cost of these DIY wipes. Yay! Save a little money!

In the future, I might even switch to cloth wipes and just use the solution recipe. :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Infant Toilet Training

Several months ago, I found this blog post, where one mother wrote a how-I-did-it on potty training infants. She successfully toilet-trained her two girls at an early age, where they were diaper-less by 18 months. It's also called elimination communication (EC), as in when the baby "eliminates," she communicates it to mommy. Many cultures toilet-train this early having no access to western diapers, so I knew it was possible. I decided I'd try it with Daisy.

Last week I started waking Daisy up at the same time each day so that we could get on a more routine eating schedule. I wrote down when she pooped and what she did right before pooping, so I could better predict it for toilet-training.

For Daisy - she kind of grunts, balls her fists, and kicks her feet when she's about to poop.

Within two days of scheduling her feeding, she slept through the night (12am-7am), which wasn't planned by me, but I was happily surprised. That morning I sat her on the toilet in front of me and sang to her about pooping on the toilet. She didn't do it. After a couple minutes, she started to cry, probably from serious hunger (having slept seven hours through the night), so I figured we'd just try again another day.

My song included the lyrics, "Pooping on the toilet everyday; pooping on the toilet, what do ya say?"

The next morning we tried again. She didn't seem that happy probably because she was so hungry, so I nursed her a couple minutes then tried again. She did it! She pooped in the toilet, which was one less diaper I had to change.

This morning she woke up a little early. I nursed her until she started kicking. Then I jumped up, took off her diaper and put her on the toilet (I sit on it and hold her up in front of me), and in a couple minutes she pooped!

It's been about two and a half hours since then, and I just laid her in a little bouncer and heard her poop. I definitely didn't recognize any signs before that one. You win some; you lose some.

We've tried peeing too, but we haven't had success there. I've held her over the sink and said, "Psssss," while the tap's running, but I guess she hasn't needed to go in those moments.

She's seven weeks old right now, and I don't intend to get it down right away, but I'm officially undergoing elimination communication, or natural infant hygiene, or infant toilet training. I'm keeping a log, and I intend to share my experiences, success and failure. Hopefully that's not too much poop talk for you guys. But if you're still reading this after all I've said about Rufio's waste, I can't imagine you'll be offended by stories of Daisy's elimination.

I'm considering myself a part-timer. When I get brave enough, I'll try diaper-less times of day, where I'm super attentive to her needs. I've already got old t-shirts ready to use as "cloth diapers." I have real cloth diapers too, but those have a different intended use.

Baby steps. She's only seven weeks. If she can take herself to the restroom by the time she starts walking, then I'll consider this whole thing a success. If I can catch a few poops a day, then those are successes too.

Here are some of the resources that I've been reading online:
How To Potty Train Your Infant
Mothering, Mindfulness, and a Baby's Bottom
Diaper Free Baby
Infant Potty Training

Each of those references have plenty of links to more, so if you're interested, there's lots to be said (negative and positive) on the subject. I know it's not for everyone, but I'm going to give it a try!

Here's to fewer diaper changes and training Daisy to recognize when she's got to go!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Family Restroom

This weekend we went to our first wedding since Daisy was born. She looked ravishing. Upon arriving to the reception, she needed a diaper change, so I took her to the restroom.

When I arrived, I saw no change station in the open area. Then I checked the handicap stall, where there wasn't a change station either. I was pretty irked, but I knew I had to change her, and I didn't want to do it out in the open at the reception.

So I changed her in my arms.

I had a disposable changing pad-like paper thing that I draped over the sink. I held her in my right arm and took off the diaper with my left (I'm a lefty, you know). I threw the dipe in the trash, wipety wipe, and put on a new dipe. The re-diapering was harder than removal, but Daisy was very patient with me. Luckily it wasn't the messiest mess, and she was gracious enough to NOT go in the middle of the process. The only thing I couldn't do one-handed was re-snap her onesie.

Just a little parenting adventure.

After the reception was over, we walked out with a family who had a toddler. Daisy was crying at that point, so I mentioned that she needed a change, but there weren't any change stations in the restroom (because obviously she wouldn't be crying unless there was a logical reason...yeah).

I said, "And it's a new building too. You'd think they'd have to have them."

Then the other mom said, "Oh there was one in the family restroom."

Duh, Deborah. I have never used the family restroom before, so I didn't even think to look for it...even though it was right next door to the women's room. Duh.

Rookie parent mistake. Next time I'll look a little harder.

She had a cute pink tu-tu skirt too, but we forgot to take off the blanket for the picture. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Most people see baby Daisy and say that she looks just like Zane. She does look a lot like her daddy, but I have to make a case for her resemblance to mommy too. Right now she's about six weeks old and looking like me more and more.

In this cute picture of Daisy, I was trying to get some pictures of her awesome hair, and she started smiling at me, so I kept snapping away. That was last week. Now she smiles much more regularly in response to us. 

Onto the comparisons. 

Baby Deborah sleeping in bassinet. 
Baby Daisy sleeping in bassinet. 
Baby Deborah chillin'
Baby Daisy chillin'

Baby Deborah hanging out with family
Baby Daisy hanging out with family

She looks a lot like her daddy, but she's basically a cuter little clone of baby me. I used to think I was a cute baby (yeah, I'm that into myself), but Daisy's WAY cuter. I'm excited to see how her features change as she grows. I'm sure she'll resemble us both in different ways throughout the years. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Not Exactly What I Was Looking For

Most random internet hits for my blog come from searches like, "Grand Canyon" or "Team Rocket." However, there are the occasional weird ones like, "me in headgear" or "my left ankle." This week I got "Tarzan and boy on a lily pad." I haven't figured out what post led them to my blog. I don't think I've ever written about Tarzan or lily pads.

This week I also got, "hot girl in pikachu costume." Ha! Yes! I hope they liked what they found, which was most likely the pikachu costume post

Not sure if that's the kind of hot girl they were looking for. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just One More

The new age of watching television. My cousin shared this with me last week.

Can't say we've been this extreme about it, but Zane and I definitely relate!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Morning Poop

I have been very fortunate with Daisy and diaper blow outs. We've had one incident when she first came home from the hospital. She's spit up on me a few times, but nothing too bad. Poop just hasn't been an issue until now.

This morning I got up and took my precious baby girl into her bedroom. I changed her and put on this adorable onesie. I thought, "I hope she doesn't poop on it, so she can wear it all day."

After I got her all dressed, I said, "Oh, you are just sooo cute!!" I kissed her, lifted her off the changing table, and took a step backwards.

I thought I stepped on Rufio's tail, because of the cylindrical shape. Then I felt the warm moistness spreading across the bottom of my foot. I gasped. I looked down to find SEVEN piles of Rufio's diarrhea spread across the floor of Daisy's nursery. Rufio sat nearby giving me a look of, "Am I in trouble?"

I used some choice words. I yelled. I was furious. Daisy started crying, so I had to put her in the crib while I cleaned up Rufio's disgusting mess, starting with my left foot.

There was much hatred in my heart for my dog during that half hour of scrubbing the carpet with oxy clean, breathing in the foul fumes of dog crap. I said, "Why the baby's room?!?!!" several times. I said, "This is why people get rid of their dogs after they have babies!!!" I hope he caught my drift. I think he did, because he hid under our bed.

Just a little story on how I started my week. I hope yours had a better beginning. I'm now sitting here with a sleeping baby on my lap and a sleeping dog at my feet.

I'd rather deal with baby poop than dog poop any day of the week.

Here's 3 of the 7 piles. Hope that's not tmi.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fun with Baby

Daisy's sleeping. I should be sleeping right now too, but I'm blogging instead! Zane was in Atlanta this week on business, which gave me five days of Daisy and me. When this posts, I'll be on my way to pick him up from the airport.

We had a great time this week. Daisy did really well with naps, and I really enjoyed my being-home-all-day time with her. Every day I fed, changed, soothed, and played with her. I also took hundreds of photos of her and sent them to Zane throughout the day.

Let's do a quick review of things I did this week in between taking care of a baby:

Squish face with baby's feet: check.

Sleep in. Recover from brooding illness (low grade fever Sunday night). Watch An Ideal Husband. Read Storm of Swords. Family dinner.

Sleep in. Watch Dr. Zhivago. Read Storm of Swords. Feel depressed about war. Dinner with friends.

Wake up early. Go to grocery store. Sleep. Start watching Drop Dead Diva. Feel happy again. Read Storm of Swords. Tidy up the house. Dinner with a friend.

Sleep in. Work on a project with Lydia. Cut a giant watermelon. Read Storm of Swords. Watch Drop Dead Diva. Family dinner.

Wake at a normal hour. Work on baby book. Sewing project. Bathe baby. Watch Drop Dead Diva.

Rufio still has to go potty when daddy's out of town. 

Each day went by too fast.

My stress levels decrease significantly when I have no appointments during the day. I don't have to worry about feeding her before we leave or when we get there, and I can sleep with her whenever she falls asleep for as long as she sleeps. It was nice to just lounge around all day long without guilt!

It might get old after a while, but being a brand new mom who had a lot going on in the first month of Daisy's life, I thought this week was awesome. It felt like summer break when I was in school: watch tv, read, and do creative projects.

It was nice. But it'll be WAY nicer to have Zane back home.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nursing Poncho

Today Daisy slept more than usual throughout the day. While she slept I worked on several photo projects (like the baby book), but I still had free time. I spent most of my free time this week sleeping, watching Drop Dead Diva, and reading Storm of Swords. Today I wanted to do something different, something a quick sewing project!

This is a great nursing cover that Zane's cousin gave me. It's by First Years. I like the full coverage and the poncho style. However, it's 100% polyester, which doesn't breathe. When I use it, Daisy's body heat creates a sauna-like atmosphere that leaves us both sweating. Plus, the polyester retains a weird old milk smell. It reminds me of when I used to work at Chick Fil A and made milkshakes and the ice dream would splatter on me and smell old and gross. I couldn't ever get the smell out of my uniform either. 

Basically, the polyester wasn't working, so I made my own nursing cover using this one as a pattern. 

I bought this fabric a long time ago, but I've never figured out a good use for it...until now! 

I cut out my sections, pinned and sewed them together. Then I found muted pink bias tape from my collection. I don't particularly like using bias tape, because it requires lots of pinning, but the outcome is so neat and clean.

My little baby slept next to me while I pinned and sewed. She never woke up from the sewing machine, even though I was sewing very choppily. There was also a thunderstorm that didn't rouse her. I hope her sleeping habits stay this way. 

She used to be fine on her back, but now she prefers to sleep on her tummy.
My other little baby slept on the other side of me. Two little munchkins just hanging out while mommy works on a sewing project.

Anyways, here's the final product. The whole project took maybe an hour and a half.

Okay, that fabric kind of looks like a magic eye picture. 

I can't wait to try it out! 

P.S. When I was about halfway through this project, I came across an old sun dress with broken straps and thought it would make a GREAT nursing cover - and I wouldn't have to hem or use bias tape around the bottom edge. I'll let you know if I try it out.