Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weight a Minute...

Last week at the gym, I walked into the daycare room to pick Amelia up. A young girl, probably about 8 or 9 years old, walked up to the daycare attendant and said: "My mom let me get on the scale today. My weight went up instead of down." Then she frowned in utter disappointment. We both looked at her and began disagreeing right away. The daycare attendant looked calmer than I felt, as I spat out "You are a growing girl, you SHOULD be gaining weight!"

As the mother of a little girl, I have many fears. I worry that she will get sick. I worry that someone will hurt her. When I watch Intervention as she sleeps cuddled in my arms, I often sob as I watch parents plead with their children, begging them to get help. I fear that could be my daughter someday. Sometimes, I even whisper to her as she sleeps, "Mommy will always protect you." But, I know I can't, so instead, I worry.

I think I fear, in particular, that she will experience pains that I have experienced. With the glory of genetics comes the fear that she will inherit something that I have struggled with. I become concerned that she will be depressed some day, or suicidal, or anxious. I fear that she will spend a chunk of her life not valuing herself or having confidence. I worry that she will feel fat and obsess over food.

This last worry is one that I sometimes feel she will face no matter how hard I try. Every day, I see body issues all over the place. Women at the gym complaining about their shape, celebrities on the news starving themselves to get thin, new diets, new weight loss shows-- our culture is saturated with it.

Although I don't want Amelia to be obsessed with her body size and shape, I do want her to have a good understanding of what she should do to be healthy. We don't let her drink juice or have many goodies. I give her fruit with every meal and call it her 'dessert'. I don't eat fast food, and therefore, she doesn't either. I hope that giving her a good foundation of what is healthy will help her make good nutritious choices when she is older. When I head to the gym, I hope that her seeing her mommy be active on a consistent basis teaches her that moving your body is GOOD for your body.

Am I naive enough to believe that these things alone will protect Amelia from overeating, making poor food choices, or feeling like she is fat? NO. But, what else is a mom to do?

I mean, other than having a good body image herself.

GULP.

Feeding Amelia healthy foods and hauling her to the gym with me is relatively easy. At my highest weight ever, positive body image is rough. I swore when I found out we were having a little girl, I would not utter the words "I'm fat" in her presence. I'm still pulling that off as I hide in our bedroom and complain to my husband as I pinch my belly and my hips. "LOOK at this!!! How can you even be attracted to me anymore?!?" as Amelia is in the living room watching cartoons. Each time I utter these words, I can see his disappointment that I do not believe I am as beautiful as he sees me.

Really, I don't think I'm ugly. I've developed a lot of confidence with age. I'm raising a happy, healthy daughter, I have a successful career, a good marriage, a terrific family. I'm intelligent, strong, and determined. All that being said, I'm not happy with how I feel. My pants are tight, I don't have as much energy as I used to when I work out, and my food choices are not all that great. I've been attempting to make better choices since the first week of January, and though I'm eating healthier and exercising more, the scale is not budging, nor are my pants getting looser. It's frustrating.

And yet, each day I wake up with new hope. I think with age has come more clarity about why I want to lose weight. It's not because I want to be super thin and it's not because I think more people will accept me if I'm a few sizes smaller. It's because I want to be healthier and feel better, and most importantly, I want Amelia to have a mom who takes care of herself for all the right reasons.

In a few weeks I will be a guest writer for the Random Blogette. A group of us have joined together on Facebook to support each other's efforts to be healthier. There I will explain my own personal struggles to fight my food demons and be healthy. And, in April I will be running my first half marathon, come hell or high water. My goal is to just finish the darned thing, even if I have to finish it walking. Not just for me, but for my daughter.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Like a Rock Star

Tomorrow morning I'm going to be on the Star 105.5 Toledo to talk about my blog.

Awesome sauce.

What? You don't know that phrase? Sigh. Fine, watch this:
LOVE Parks & Rec.

Anyways.

How did I end up being interviewed by Tim and Jeff in the Morning, you ask? Totally by riding the coat tails of my cousin who knows one of the DJ's. I have no shame, I admit it. And, my cousin is such a lovely person that she is thrilled that I mentioned my blog to Jeff during conversation.

You can listen in by clicking on the 'Listen Live!' link in red to the right of their webpage (http://www.star105toledo.com/ if you missed the link above). I should be on around 8 a.m. Eastern Time. I will be talking about breastfeeding and boobs, which we all know I have become quite the expert on.

Thanks for being a fan of amateur mommy and I hope you can hear the show tomorrow!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Up and Down

Amelia continues to be sick. Although she seemed like she was almost completely over it about a week ago, the germs returned with a vengeance, and I finally had to surrender to take her to the doctor. She has been put on two different breathing machine medications to cope with her deep cough. The doctor hinted at the possibility that she could be cursed with asthma, which we are hoping she will outgrow, as many of my family members have.

Amelia attempting to get some congested zzz's
As such, I've been spending a lot of time holding down a displeased toddler to spray medications in her face. Ever the smart girl, Amelia crawls as fast as her little limbs will take her when she sees me unscrewing the mouth piece of her breathing machine in order to squirt the medication in. The rest of the ordeal entails me blaring Sesame Street in an attempt to distract her, and her whining every few minutes while trying to shove the apparatus out of her face.

All of this has not prevented her from continuing her path to being a wiggly, active little toddler. I haven't gotten any good video of it yet, but we are able to coerce her from the comfort of our foot rest at time and get her to take a few free standing steps. Ever the cautious child, she has been spending her time figuring out how to safely descend a piece of furniture for the event that she is brave/tall enough to start climbing things:

You may note that she is actually ordering her dad to lift her 'up'. I assume that this is only the beginning of her attempts to boss her parents around. Luckily, it's generally pretty cute at this point, unless she is being super whiny and bounces and cries when we don't put her on the couch right away. Also not cute? Her sticking her lip out in determination and shoving my laptop off my legs when I don't respond to her pleas immediately.

While she is driving me slightly nuts with her desire to be up monkeying around on our couch all the time, she is making up for it in a big way by continuing her love for canines. Her she is with our friend's dog:
And here she is giving our dog treats:
I was mostly excited that she wasn't trying to shove the dog treats in her own mouth, while Molly was excited that one more person in her life will be adding to her winter weight.

And now, I hear her stirring in our bed so I'm off for more sick child wrangling and other toddler adventures. Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Off the Boob

I mentioned during my last post that Amelia is now fully weaned, and I've gotten a lot of questions about what that was like from many curious moms. Some were particularly interested because they are looking forward to weaning their own in the near future. So, I figured a full post about it is in order. If breastfeeding weirds you out (it shouldn't, but if it does, this is your warning), stop reading here.

I will say that as with most.... all?... things child and parenting related, there is no formula to weaning. I read here and there some suggestions about the process but I hadn't done a lot of research. I figured that at some point, Amelia would struggle with her boob addiction and then I would have to turn to the internet or a lactation consultant for help. I am betting that this is why so many moms were curious about how she ended up fully weaning. When you have a breastfed baby, it seems that they love the boob more than anything on this earth. It's their source of nutrition, comfort, snuggling, and bonding, so even when baby is eating solids, a lot of babies are not going to give up mama's breast without objection.

In Amelia's case, this is especially true, as she doesn't take a pacifier or have any other kind of possession that she has a strong attachment too. No special blankie or stuffed animal, nothing will replace cuddles in her book. So, at about ten months, I was starting to worry that Amelia was going to be an extended nursing kind of kid out of desperation rather than choice. I say this while noting that I really don't have anything against extended breastfeeding. It works for some families and I know it grosses some people out, but to them I say, mind your own business.

The big barrier that I could envision to Amelia weaning was naps and nighttime. Our lactation consultant had warned us that nursing to sleep was not a good idea, as many kids have a hard time stopping that habit. However, since we have been cursed with a child that is not a good sleeper, I had given up long ago on trying to make her sleep without nursing. It was easier and more peaceful for everyone in our household, so I went with the flow and did what worked best for her. I had also read about several mamas allowing their children to do this without long term reprecussions, so I figured that much like weaning from a paci, we would stop the nursing to sleep at some point.

For me, it seems like anything that I do serious worrying about, Amelia will just suddenly switch one day, as if to say 'Have a little faith in me, Mom, I'll grow up in my own time!' I started working from home in September, and all of my work is done on the computer. When I started my new job, I would prop a pillow on my lap and let Amelia nurse while I was working. One day, when she was about 11 months old, she crawled up to me, fussing a bit, and I didn't realize that she was tired. So I turned on some soothing kid's music that I had borrowed from the library and started rocking her as I worked. Before I knew it, she was passed out on my shoulder, and I was ecstatic that I had finally gotten her to sleep without breastfeeding. After that, I started trying to rock her for all her naps. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes I gave up and let her nurse. I would say about a month later, she was being rocked to sleep for all naps.

This rocking to sleep was HUGE for me. Because Amelia had always nursed to sleep, it was rather stressful for me to leave her with other people during naps. I knew that they would somehow get her to sleep, but it would probably be a struggle for them. It was easier for other people when she took bottles, but she has refused those since June, so options were pretty limited during nap times.

I should also note that Amelia's lack of pacifiers was not an intentional parenting decision on our part. We did wait until she was about five days old to give her one, per the advice of our lactation consultant. I'm not sure if the waiting made her impartial to them, or if she simply enjoyed the boob more, but at three months I tried to put her in her crib one day while slipping a paci in her mouth and she pulled it out of her mouth and handed it to me. She has never taken one since.

The next task at hand for us was getting Amelia to drink whole milk. We were lucky in this department because Amelia really likes her milk and drinks well from a sippy.... well... one particular sippy. Anyways, we have always left a sippy of water on the floor for her to have when she gets thirsty. This worked best for her because if you try to force anything on her rather than letting her try figure it out for herself, she will refuse it. As far as introducing milk, I diluted it with water at first to get her used to the taste and also to get her tummy used to it. Amelia seemed a tad gassy with it at first, but within a week, she was drinking it 'full strength' and enjoying it.

The last step for us was ending the nighttime nursing. Not even two months ago, she was often nursing two to three times a night, so I thought this could be a huge struggle. Alas, Amelia has had a lingering cold for the past month, and her ability to nurse was pretty limited since she could barely breathe. I had to sleep on the couch with her many times when she had a middle of the night coughing attack, or I would cuddle her back to sleep rather than nursing. Magically, it seemed, she stopped nursing and that was that!

So, we've made it. Amelia has been a 100% breastfed baby, and I'm terribly proud of this. While I was lucky in that I did not face any obstacles with breasfeeding, no latching or supply problems, nor any problems with pumping when I was working outside of our home, I really never loved breastfeeding the way some moms do. While many moms enjoy it for the bonding and snuggling time, I think this was hard for me because of Amelia's colic. I was already holding her pretty much 24 hours a day because of her discomfort and fussiness, so having her latched onto me just gave me this odd feeling of being trapped, at least for the first couple of months. I came to appreciate breastfeeding for it's convenience at some point, probably when she was past her colic, but I still really never thought it was all that fabulous from a mom point of view. Despite that, I pushed through the times that I heard the cans of formula calling to me in the baby aisle, and did what I felt was best for my daughter.

These days, she much prefers her sippy and mama's chili over a plain old boob anyways:
This chili is WAY better than Mom's boobs.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Growing Girl

Lately in our house, it seems like we can't feed Amelia enough. One morning, between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. I fed her:
  • a baby cookie
  • part of a piece of cheese
  • three strawberries
  • a banana
  • a scrambled egg
Then yesterday when I took her to the gym, she ate a whole snack size bowl of cheerios and craisins... this was after she had a banana for breakfast. I informed the childcare provider that I had fed her before we came, and what I had given her, you know, just in case she thinks I'm starving the little munchkin. Her eyes got big, saying "My TWO YEAR OLD can't even eat a whole banana."

I seriously don't know where she puts it all. She is a total peanut at only about 20 pounds at 14 months. Along with some serious smashin' in our house, we've had to abruptly move her up to the next size of diapers, due to her peeing through her diaper and pants every day. It's no surprise either. We always leave a sippy of water in the living room for her so she can drink as she is thirsty. I finally kept track one day of exactly how many fluids she's drinking:

About 45 ounces of milk and water a day. Holy cow. I don't think most adults probably drink that many fluids in a day.

To complete the tri-fecta, she's been sleeping an insane amount, at least for Amelia. While most toddlers sleep 11-12 hours per night, with a couple naps thrown in during the day, our daughter has never been one for sleep. It is a rare occasion when she sleeps a full ten hours at night, and she never sleeps all the way through the night. Generally, she sleeps 9:00 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. I've read all the sleep theories and tried many suggestions and solutions, but at this point in her development, I've deemed her a person who doesn't need much sleep and have accepted that fact. We've also learned that contrary to general sleep advice, we cannot put Amelia to bed early. Should she happen to fall asleep prior to 8:30 p.m., she will almost certainly be up in the middle of the night.

Therefore, when she fell asleep Monday on our way home from dinner with her aunties, I was just a little concerned that I couldn't wake her. She had fallen asleep at 6:45 p.m., so I was certain that I would be up at 2:00 a.m. I tried to wake her up, tickling her cheek, talking to her... alas, she continued her slumber:
I sighed, and off to bed we went at about 10:00 p.m. To my surprise, she slept till 5:30 a.m. Unfortunately for me, I woke up about every hour after 2:00 a.m. because I kept thinking about how she'd be up soon. Oh, how the mommy mind never rests. Apparently this still was not enough for her, as she took two naps that were both two hours long that day.

I guess maybe mothers are reading this saying, "Yeah, yeah, a growth spurt, this is like, the most boring post ever." Well, A) I'm totally putting off my resolutions post because it entails plastering half naked chubby pictures of myself on my blog, B) she is a total peanut and it fascinates me that she can eat like a five year old at only a year of age and C) oh, I haven't said yet, she is WEANED, thank you God, and all I keep thinking is how she used to nurse, and nurse, and NURSE when she was an infant going through a growth spurt. So, I am joyously giving her as much food as she needs right now while I think about the glorious freedom that I'm enjoying since ending my time as a giant milk machine.

One last update. Since Amelia is past a year, I get this question several times a week: "Is she walking yet?" Well.... no. No, she's not. She is making gains every day towards that milestone, letting go of the furniture to stand and occasionally flinging herself towards the couch from the foot rest. But, no true steps yet. Amelia appears to be terribly cautious, with no interest in doing anything physically that could cause her to fall down. So, until she is certain that she can walk without doing too much harm to her little frame, she continues to go around and around and around our foot rest all day, often with a book or toy in one hand while the other hand helps her balance on the furniture. She did finally get brave enough yesterday to figure out her walker:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Creative Cookery

Yesterday was one of those days where you intend to make great things in your kitchen and then things get a little crazy.

I was planning on visiting a friend whose husband will soon be having surgery. I've shared before, in my family, you show love by feeding people. With that in mind, I planned on making my friend dinner for her family of five. I was also hungry for chocolate chip banana bread, so my plan was to wake up yesterday morning, bake a double batch of the bread, whip up some kind of pasta dish, shower, pack up Amelia and I, and hit the road (my friend lives over an hour south of us). That was pretty much how the morning went, if you add in a lot of cussing and a ninety minute delay in leaving.

First, I worked on the pasta dish. I had planned on going to the store and getting lasagna ingredients, but alas, I had not made it to the store this week. Hmm... what do we have on hand... pasta.... canned diced tomatoes with chipotle... ground turkey... black beans... corn.... I'll make Mexican pasta! Great. Well, would have been great if the tomatoes were not, OMG-set-your-mouth-on-fire hot. And, the pasta was lacking sauce. Tomato sauce is generally something I keep on hand in case I'm in the mood for Spanish rice, or a pasta dish. Surely we had some in the cupboard.

Nope.

Shit.

I mean shoot. Amelia is starting to repeat us A LOT, so I'm trying not to swear. Getting annoyed in the kitchen does not help.

So, I whipped up a cheese sauce to throw in. It still ended up pretty spicy, but her kids are toddler/pre-school age, so I figured they'd be likely to be picky anyways. With a sigh, I threw the pasta in a bowl and worked on the bread.

It was supposed to start with shortening and sugar, but I rarely bake with the full amount of fat/butter, so I used half margarine and half applesauce. Throw in the sugar, then the eggs... we're out of eggs. How are we out of eggs?!? Oh, because I've made them every morning this week for breakfast.

I think at this point, most people would have given up. But I REALLY wanted that banana bread. Were I childless, I would have ran to the store, but being that I have a toddler AND I was still in pj's, that seemed like a horrible option. So on the internet I go... did you know you can substitute baking soda and vinegar for eggs? Who knows what the science is behind that, but I went with it and dumped it in.

It smelled horrid. This was going to be a disaster.

Eh, might as well continue. Throw in a few more ingredients and then chocolate chips.

We had a quarter cup left. Not enough for a double batch of banana bread, and I REALLY wanted chocolate in my bread. This is another standard ingredient that I always keep in our kitchen, as you never know when chocolate chip cookies, or chocolate chip anything else will sound good.

SIGH.

What do we have that's chocolate, what do we have that's chocolate... mint chocolate chips? Eww. White chocolate chips? Eww again. Cinnamon chips? Not what I'm craving. Crushed oreo cookies?

That could work.

So now I've replaced the eggs with vinegar and baking soda and the chocolate chips with oreos. I had a weird feeling in my stomach of impending culinary doom, but I poured the batter in the pans and threw them in the oven anyways.

The results?

Not so bad.

Spicy, spicy pasta.

Horrendous looking, but delicious.

My friend liked and appreciated the pasta, as did my husband who insisted that he be able to try my concoction. The bread took FOREVER to bake, our loaf was not baked in the middle and also caved in, and was a little dark around the edges. But, it was indeed full of banana and chocolate flavor with no hint of vinegar, and the kids LOVED it.

Success.

What did we have for dinner last night after all that kitchen drama? Wings at our local sports bar. Mama needed a beer and a break from the oven. Hopefully today will go better when I make bubble-up pizza to eat while we watch afternoon football.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finally: Holiday Recap

I had briefly informed everyone that they would get to see pic's at some point of our holidays. The downside is that my camera is buried somewhere in the pile of clothes in my bedroom, so alas, you do not get to see 500 pictures of my toddler learning to rip open gifts. On the plus side, I'm sure many of you have grown tired of seeing such pics plastered all over facebook, and also, my phone pic's are much more interesting. So let's begin, shall we?

The Thursday before Christmas was last minute holiday craziness. My first day of 'vacation' from work was filled with list making, shopping, baking, and wrapping. Amelia and I left the house at 11:30 a.m. and didn't return until 4:30 p.m. She did excellent since she took a nice little nap in the car at some point, and it was a good reminder that I should be ever thankful that she is now a fun toddler rather than a colicky baby that has to remain strapped to my body to be happy. Hello, mommy freedom. Here she is kicked back in her stroller when we stopped at our local coffee shop to purchase a few gifts and relax before heading home:
I was crazy enough to try out a Christmas craft/gift that involved paint and baby feet. I imagined that this would be difficult due to the mess it would make. Little did I know that my daughter would be completely freaked out by the prospect of having paint on her feet. How I managed to make three of these pictures for her grandparents and great grandparents while she wailed and kicked her green feet around, I'll never know:
That gold blob at the top is supposed to be a star made with her hand, but she had it balled up in a fist of furry, so it is barely recognizable.

The next day, we headed down to my grandparents that live ninety minutes south of us. We stayed overnight and Miss Amelia got her first haul of toys, with two more yet to come at that point. We made it back to our home by 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, I yanked Amelia's clothes off and threw a beautiful red and black dress over her head, strapped her back in her car seat, and we headed off to Christmas Eve service. She was less than thrilled about being confined yet again, but was very pleasant and snuggly at church.

The next morning my husband prepared to go to his parents early while I took Molly for a Christmas morning walk:

It was a little chilly, but a lovely way to start the day. It was quiet and calm, and a great gift to a dog who is constantly stuck in the house with a rough and over exuberant toddler. I could barely get her to sit still for a picture:

We were supposed to be at my in-laws by 11:00 a.m., however, Amelia was sick and had other ideas:
Finally she woke up around noon and we headed off to my in-laws, then my parents. It was a nice day, but I was certainly ready to be home and kick my feet up to watch Christmas movies at the end of the day.

The rest of the week after Christmas was filled with cleaning and catching up with friends. On Tuesday, my dad and I headed to a local butcher shop about 30 minutes from my house to stock up on meat for our freezers. Amelia seemed not at all interested in this at first:
However, the foodie in her must have sensed something because she woke shortly after I snapped this picture and was ready for her grandpa to show her the ropes of picking out the best cuts of meat while Mommy filled the cart with good stuff:

Who knew a butcher shop could be so interesting?:

Honk your nose, steer!
Yes, I really stuck her into a cart of meat in order to get a cute picture.
You may be saying to yourself, yes, that's lovely, pictures of your baby by a meat case, but what did Amanda do for New Year's Eve? Well, I'll tell you. My husband made me Chinese food so I could sit on the couch and enjoy a drink. Then we played some video games together and cuddled on the couch watching TV while Amelia slept. We passed out by 10:30 p.m. and were woke up promptly at 12:30 a.m., bright and early in 2012 by our daughter's hacking cough. Such is the glamorous life of parents. Although when I reflected upon this the next morning, I actually stopped going out for NYE before I was even pregnant with Amelia. I like to throw back a few drinks, but staying up late has never really been my thing, nor is getting all dressed up. I'll take sweatpants and an early bedtime any day.

And so, this concludes the belated retelling of the holidays in our household. Stay tuned for my resolutions later this week!

Amazon SearchBox