Category Archives: Baby

2013, Quick Update

Family

We’ve definitely had several transitions in the past few months–most notably, our Trinity-girl is now 5 months old(!!). She is utterly adorable–I’m continually shocked at what an easy baby she is. She’s almost always in a good mood (even when teething), eats like a champ, burps herself, rolls over onto her tummy, laughs at anything River does, and has just started “singing,” i.e., vocalizing like a baby dinosaur with high squeals and shrieks. She’s so overwhelmingly cute and cuddly that it’s almost unbearable. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to parent a full-term baby after first experiencing a preemie. It makes me delight in the effortless-feeling, developmental-milestone-smashing course that Trinity is on, rather than taking it for granted.

At first, having 2 children was a bit daunting–the first 6 weeks felt very overwhelming. However, thanks to Trinity’s great personality, River’s surprisingly open acceptance of her sister, and the help of friends, family and babysitter, I feel like we’ve found our equilibrium (well, as much equilibrium as one can muster with children in the mix).

Health

I’m still avoiding gluten as a holistic means of combating my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, although I’ve relaxed a little bit when visiting family. It’s so hard to find gluten free food at parties and gatherings that I tend to chalk up those days as ones that will result in my being very bloated for the following 72 hours. I find that I still have a rather addictive response to the combination of refined flour and sugar, and I’ve had some increased refined-sugar cravings after relaxing my gluten free regimen. Definitely NOT a coincidence, I think. I have settled into a good routine at home and have found that creating a 5 week plan of naturally gluten free breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners (complete with page #s for recipes, etc) makes it a lot easier for me to serve things that all of us enjoy. When I say “naturally gluten free,” I’m referring to meals in which the original recipes don’t call for gluten-containing ingredients. Example: a breakfast might be scrambled eggs with cheese and cottage potatoes instead of eggs with gluten free toast. I’m trying to eat “whole foods,” rather than using gluten free substitutes b/c most store-bought gf substitutes have a terribly high glycemic index and fairly low nutritional value.

I’ve also found an edible, tasty snack/sandwich bread from Elana Amsterdam’s  The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. I LOVE the high protein content and the dense, moist texture of her quick-bread recipes. Here’s a similar recipe from her website for her “Bread 2.0.” The bread is easy to make and actually tastes great without incorporating loads of sugar or rice-flour. I have to say that it’s definitely my best experience with savory, gluten free bread thus far.

On a less holistic note, I’ve also started taking Levothroid. I’m in awe at how fantastic I feel after just a week. My TSH was only at 3.1, but since that’s on the high end of normal and at a level that can have negative hormonal effects, my primary care PA suggested that I try a tiny dose (25 micrograms) to see if it made a positive difference.  My energy levels are higher than they’ve been in over 4 years, I’m sleeping well, and I don’t crash after just a few hours of activity. It’s beyond awesome to feel “normal” again.

I don’t love the idea of being on a medication for the rest of my life, but at this point, having low energy is just not an option, and I haven’t been able to find empirical studies showing that going gluten-free *actually* helps keep Hashimoto’s in check. The suggestion makes intuitive sense to me as a lay person, but I’m willing to concede that it may be misguided. Still, I feel better eating gluten-free, and since I have multiple generations of diabetes in my family history, eating in a way that minimizes my consumption of grains and maximizes my consumption of protein, whole fruits and veggies will still have massive health benefits. I’m not prepared to go Paleo, but I am convinced that eating as if I’m trying to manage diabetes (high protein, carbs from non-starchy veggies, etc), even though I don’t have diabetes, is probably the best thing for my body.

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Filed under 2013, Baby, Blessings, gluten free, Thyroid

Saving a life daily

This week, River (19 months) and I took a trip to our neighborhood playground.

It’s a dream of a playground–tons of open-ended, well maintained equipment, and connected-but-separate areas for different ages of children. River and I normally play in the “5 and under” section, but we decided to explore the “5-12” area. It has a slide made of rolling cylinders that she enjoys going down, and the entire structure is shaped like a giant pirate ship with bridges, ladders and tunnels connecting the various parts.

For the first time ever, we walked around on the ship as we made our way to the slide. I held River’s hand and she was happy to explore until she saw an open section in the structure. It lead to a vertical ladder, and the drop from where we were standing to the sand below was about 7 feet.

She decided that she HAD to walk OFF of the ledge and get to the sand. There was no way for us to safely navigate the ladder, so I tried to distract her by pointing out the cylinder slide. She would have none of it, and actually started to FIGHT me and try to hurl herself off of the 7 foot ledge.

Since I’m at least 6 times her size, I simply picked her up, sung a song, and carried her off the structure to play on something safer.

But I was still in awe at 1) the downside of her fearlessness (normally it’s a beautiful thing) 2) her ignorance of consequences of actions, and 3) her need for parental guidance as a life-saving measure.

It made me wonder how God must feel when we fight his guidance and principles and try to throw our two-foot-tall selves off of seven-foot-tall ledges. And all the while, we’re so sure that this is what we want and need.

When I relayed the story to the husband, he said: “Do you realize that you’re saving River’s life–or at least keeping her from being maimed for life–EVERY day, just by watching and caring for her?”

It’s definitely a humbling thought. And in a few years, when I look back with sadness on how quickly she’s grown, I’ll remind myself: “Thank goodness she’s grown and (hopefully) become wiser and less of a danger to her own existence!”

:)

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Filed under 2011, Baby, family thoughts, processing, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday, Riverbug!

Happy Birthday, River!

Since your birth, I’ve been continually reminded to never, ever take your presence for granted. From your scary, 2-months-early leap into the world at just 2.5 pounds, to our friend Kirsten losing her darling Ewan-baby so recently, I’m reminded daily that having you in my life is a blessing and privilege. I don’t know why I’ve been given so many of these reminders, but I’m grateful for them; and most of all, I’m grateful for you.

This year of being a Mom has been a whirlwind:

the longest hospitalization of my life (8 days)

 

the longest hospitalization of your life (31 days in the NICU)

 

a glorious, just-in-time-for-Christmas homecoming for you

 

a fun, low-key New Year’s celebration with Auntie Rose

the weird lighting makes it look like we're partying, but we're at home on the couch :)

successfully weathering the RSV/flu season and your many, many vaccines,

 

ending maternity leave and making the decision to be at home with you (I’m so blessed to be able to spend this time with you with your Dad’s support!)

 

your baptism into the Anglican church in the same church where your Dad and I got married

Dennis & Krysta celebrate River's baptism with us (they were in this same church for our wedding too!)

traveling across the continental United States (literally from one end to the other) with you and your Dad and relocating to CT

 

exploring New York City with you

 

and readying ourselves for another year of new experiences.

 

You’re now SIX TIMES LARGER than you were at birth (yep, that’s 15 pounds!). You grab our fingers and pull yourself up to stand. You can sit up like a big girl with no support. You’re endlessly playful, enjoying your toys, exersaucer, walker, bouncy chair, books, blocks, and “Locks & Latches” board.

Your favorite activities are jumping (preferably with someone holding you), playing “horsy” with Dad, and emptying containers of whatever is in them.  You took your first three steps two days ago. You were holding my index fingers and walking toward your toys. As you got near them, you simply let go of my fingers and took 3 steps as if it was the easiest thing in the world. I love the fearless way you go after what you want. You’re also enchanted with the American Sign Language alphabet and even move your fingers to try to imitate the movements when we sign it to you.

Your faux-hawk (you can thank your Dad’s Asian heritage for that) is the source of many compliments when we go out. I appreciate your faux hawk for the “mom street cred” it gives me—it makes me look far more edgy and trend-setting than I actually am. Also, it’s effortless—your hair pops up on its own after a bath, and stays that way no matter what!

On the train to and from NYC, you make eye contact with other passengers, willing them to smile or make faces at you (they always do) and rewarding them with that crinkle-eyed, thousand-watt smile of yours. If they’re very lucky, they’ll even get one of your rollicking, infectious giggles or belly-laughs.

You enjoy eating your melt-away, organic apple and veggie puffs, pureed prunes, butternut squash & corn, oatmeal, fruit purees, cinnamon cookies, and rice cereal.

You can hold your own bottle, but choose to do so only when you feel like it.

Your Dad tried to encourage you to hold your own bottle one day when you didn’t want to. You looked him in the eye and hurled the bottle to the floor, even though you were hungry. Yep, that’s my strong, opinionated girl, already taking a stand!

You’re also increasingly vocal by the day! Every morning, I hear new syllables, consonant combinations, and even entire words from you. It never fails to amaze me, even though it happens daily!

This year, we look forward to more adventures on the East Coast and seeing what is in store for us once your Dad’s PA residency ends in September. We are also focusing on keeping you healthy—for now, this is the final year in which we have to be uber-careful to not let you get sick. This just means that we’re hand-washing, hand sanitizer-spraying helicopter parents who don’t let anyone touch you until that person has cleaned up.  We don’t mind. : ) Your Dad and I also pray for you to come to a loving relationship with our Creator, one that empowers you to love with your heart, soul, and mind and to share that love with those you encounter.

Your smile, determination, assertiveness, affection, and zest for life bring joy to everyone around you, River. Happy First Birthday! We love you more than words can say.

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Filed under 2010, Baby, Uncategorized

vintage baby and unconditional love…

Much to my delight, River finally fits into the gorgeous, vintage pieces that my mom and I thrifted for her on our many fun shopping outings while I was pregnant.

Although I used to describe my desired style for her clothes as “ridiculously girly” meaning “over-the-top-frilly-and decorated,” like this: I’ve noticed that now that she’s actually *here,* and as I’ve gotten to know her, I’ve somewhat toned down her style of clothes.

In fact, I’m now an even bigger fan of vintage baby clothes. The subdued, softened beauty of these aged pieces highlights how incredibly new and beautiful she is.

I love the understated femininity of the vintage pieces–muted pinks, bits of soft lace, pastel embroidery done by hand, the silky texture that old cotton, washed to the point of transparency, takes on…They all highlight her glowing, bursting-at-the-seams vitality and curiosity.

Putting tons of accessories on her at this point feels like dipping a perfect, pink rose in gold….Sure, gold is gorgeous and pink roses are gorgeous, but combining them does nothing to actually make either more beautiful. Letting them shine on their own does a lot more to highlight their good qualities.

Maybe this is what unconditional love is teaching me: When I look at River, I see spectacular, jaw-dropping, gorgeous-sunrise-and perfect-pink-rose-loveliness…her courageous soul and assertiveness, her desire to learn, her capacity for love, her zest for life, her complete honesty and abandon and vulnerability…they’re already so evident in her eyes, gestures, and vocalizations. I can’t imagine a more beautiful version of 8-months-and-10-days-old-Riverbug. And the dimpled knees don’t hurt either. :)

I hope I can look at more people like this–see through the outward clutter to their capacities for good and to what makes them beautiful. (It seems so much harder with baggage-laden, warts-and-all-grownups, doesn’t it?)

I hope that I can clear away my own outward clutter, approaching life with complete vulnerability and honesty in my imperfect-but-hopefully-growing-better state.

It’s not like these realizations are anything new…”the truth will set you free,” “perfect love casts out fear…” These truths just take on new meaning in this phase of life. :)

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Filed under 2010, Baby

a matter of perspective

Caring for a baby 24/7 has made me realize how many bizarre, mildly self-abusive things I was in the habit of doing on a daily basis.

Examples: lip-plumping gloss (contains a peppermint irritant to temporarily plump up lips). I don’t want this to hurt her skin if I kiss her, so I don’t use it. And when I think about it, WHY was *I* deliberately irritating the delicate skin on my lips, anyway?

Another example: Artificial Sweeteners. I’ve always known that these are simply not healthy—it’s strange to put an artificial substance in one’s body that contains no nutritional value and whose long term effects are widely unknown or negative…all for the sake of convenience. I would NEVER feed River an artificial sweetener. The idea is absurd. Which begs the question, why in the world was I OK with putting such junk into my own body?

It’s amazing how asking the question: “Would I give this to my baby?” changes how I view what I use on and for myself….

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Filed under 2010, Baby