More videos to come

I’m in the process of ripping all the videos off the DVDs which were recently converted from Super8. Isn’t it amazing that I still look so much like my four-year-old self?

2011/01/27 Workout Log

  • 20 reps of kettlebell swings at 20lbs.  I should up the weight and reps to 25/25 next time.
  • Initial ability test: one set of push-ups.  Total number of reps: 8.  Probably could squeeze an extra rep if I really, really, really wanted.
  • Initial ability test: one set of crunches.  Total number of reps: 30.
  • Initial ability test: one set of squats.  Total number of reps: 30.
  • Timed plank: 40 seconds on front, 30 seconds on each side.

Co(erced)-Sleeping, Our Version

This is in response to Co(erced)-sleeping: how we share a sleeping space with our two year old.

Co-sleeping is alive and well in our household.  The situation has evolved over the past two years, and the current version looks like this:

The Ideal Co-Sleeping Position

Only one parent is present, because our queen size bed is getting too crowded.  (More on that later.)

The crib was an artifact of our earlier attempt to remove FBB from our bed.  Now its primary functions are guard rail and storage for extra clothing and diapering supplies.

However, that is far from the truth.  Dad is usually the one who sleeps with FBB, and the most recent version of the reality is more like this:

Co-Sleeping, Dad's Reality

First, we have a toddler who has never liked being covered.  And he cries if he’s not comfortably warm in sleep.  We have to dress him warm, but he complains when we starts to put the third layer on him.

Then, there’s also the problem of FBB liking to sleep on top of someone, particularly people he loves.  The more he loves you, the more likely he is to sleep on top of you.  Apparently, he loves Dad very much, because he is sleeping on Dad’s neck lately.  Dad woke up in the middle of the night and complained to me about suffocation.  (Dad also said he wanted to punch FBB then.  I was not surprised.)

On the off night when I’m the one sleeping with FBB, I am greeted with a different problem:

Co-Sleeping, Mom's Reality

(I don’t usually sleep with him because my presence seems to excite him too much–it takes longer for him to fall asleep, and he wakes up more easily.)

Obviously, he loves me even more dearly than he loves Dad, because he literally sleeps on his tummy on top of mine.  And even if I managed to get him off my core and just sleep on my (soon-to-be-numb) arm, he stills wants physical contact with me so much that he demands the cover off me.

Nowadays, Dad consistently falls asleep with FBB, leaving me with a few hours of alone time to read, watch TV, surf the web, and tackle one of the many craft projects I’d like to try.

Night Time Diapering

Even before switching to cloth diapers, night time diapering was a challenge for me–DS used to be up a few times a night to nurse, and his diaper, even a disposable, would be soaked the next morning, often to the point of leaking.

When we first switched to cloth diapers, I used two g-Flappers in a pair of gPants.  After a while, I found his bum to be red the next morning from a soaked diaper sitting on his bum for too long.

Then I switched to two flushies, one folded in half in front.  It held all the liquid (although some days the flushies would be holding so much pee that they would burst), and we had no leaks or red bums.  However, it got expensive.

The next thing I tried was double- or triple-stuffed pocket diapers.  I often used whatever pocket diapers I had on hand, but often resort to BumGenius OS 3.0 or Rumparooz.  I particularly liked Rumparooz’s gusset and doubler–no leaks ever!

After a while, my hands got itchy, and DS’s thighs grew even chubbier, so I decided to switch to a feel-wet solution.  For one night, I tried a Bummis prefold with wool cover.  It was definitely not enough!  So I switched to a Sustainablebabyish fitted.  It was still no good.

Three months ago, I finally decided to splurge on a Goodmama fitted.  When I first received it in the mail, I was amazed how thick it was!  The Goodmama fitteds really held up all the liquid (although barely).  But I had leaks–because the Goodmamas are so thick, most of the diaper covers couldn’t cover the diaper well.  That included Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, Flip, and some WAHM-made wool covers and longies.  In addition, the Goodmama would be SOOOO soaked and stinky in the morning, and we’re also seeing red bum again.  Thinking it was my washer (which has never been cloth-diaper friendly), I tried stripping the diapers in different ways.  None of them worked well enough; there were still redness, especially where the elastics land on his thighs.

Another problem is, he has basically outgrown the Goodmama fitteds, despite them advertised to fit up to 30 lbs.  It’s his chubby thighs.  So I switched to using prefolds, with an extra prefold folded up as a extra thick doubler in front.  The prefolds are snappied (so no elastics), then I put on the wool cover and wool longies.  The prefolds are still soaked, but they are less stinky, and we had less itchiness around the thighs.

Then it dawned on me: I should just change his diaper in the middle of the night.

Sounds easy, right?  Except that I have to unzip DS’s sleep sack, take off his wool longies (for extra protection), the wool cover, and his diaper.  Then I try to take him to potty (my half-hearted attempt to night-time EC).  After that, I had to put on a clean diaper, wool cover, wool longies, and sleep sack.  More often than not, that whole sequence would wake him up, and I had to nurse him down again.  Not a fun thing to do when I was trying to go to bed.

I’m trying to find the best time to change his diaper at night so I won’t disrupt his sleep.  After that, I need to find a good time to take him to potty and ramp up the night-time ECing.  Hopefully with the warmer months night-time ECing would become easier.

Elimination Communication

Elimination Communication, also called Infant Potty Training or Natural Infant Hygiene, is a form of “potty learning” for babies.  Even if only practicing EC part-time, kids are often out of diapers and reliably dry during the day by about 12-18 months.

EC is not space-age new.  In fact, it was the norm in pre-industrial days.  Until disposables became the new norm since its introduction in the 60’s, most mothers practice some form of EC, with cloth diapers as back-ups.  Even with disposable diapers available, my mom and MIL still talk about how their kids (yes, us!) were all out of diapers during the day by the first birthday.

DS’s EC started very early on.  Whenever my parents changed DS’s diaper even back when he was a few days old, they would make this “shhh” sound, and often times DS would pee.  Not knowing any better, I was really skeptical and thought it was pure coincidence.

Starting at maybe 4 months old, my mom was laid off and she came over to our place every day to help me taking care of DS.  Most of the time, she took care of bathing DS.  Before the bath, she would hold DS in-arms over the bathtub, and DS would pee for him almost every time.  By then, I have already heard about EC, but thought it was too much work.

After I switched to cloth diapers at 8 months, I read more about EC.  DS has already started solids by then, and some food was giving him constipation.  There was a particularly memorable EC instance: We were out on a weekend road trip, and DS has not pooped at all for days.  On our way back home, we saw him straining really badly trying to poop but failed.  So I decided to do something I vividly remember my mom doing to my little brother: I sat on a stool, held DS in arms, and helped him poop on the newpaper-protected floor.

That worked, and I have “missed” only a handful of poops since then.

In terms of pees, my mom started dressing DS without diapers during the day since his first birthday.  We went from a lot of wetted pants and mopping to very reliable dry pants for the past two weeks.

The next challenges I’m planning tackle?  Having DS *tell* us he needs to go to the bathroom, instead of us taking him to the bathroom every hour or so.  Oh, and switch to potty.

Back to Work

Ha! The last post only took me a month to write!  I blame work.

Yes, work.  I’m back to work full time shortly after DS has turned one.  That’s after 2 weeks of vacation + 2 weeks of unpaid waiting period + 50 weeks of compensated maternity leave + 3 weeks of vacation I accumulated in the year I was on mat leave.  Although I certainly would welcome even longer mat leave, I’m already very grateful to be with DS all the time for one full year.  Canadian government I thank ya!

My mom is taking care of DS at our home during the day.  She comes over before we leave for work and stays until we get home!  To me, it’s the next best thing for DS.  My mom is super good with kids–she almost opened a home care about a decade ago)–and she happened to be laid off during the recession, so it was perfect.

Traveling with Baby

I finally found the time to blog!

Long story short, in early October, we went to Greece for my brother’s wedding in Santorini for 10 days.  A week later, an unplanned trip sprung up and I found my little family of three having a 4-week stay across the other big pond in Hong Kong.

Transatlantic and transpacific flights with a 10-11 months old baby on lap was a lot harder than going without the baby. For one thing, an 11-month-old would require constant holding, whether he was sleeping or awake.  Putting him to sleep in the flight was a major obstacle.  We tried wearing him and walking up and down the aisle, humming, nursing–you name it.  Try as we might, we just couldn’t get him to sleep longer than 3 hours.  It then took at least another 2 hours for him to fall asleep again.  Even with him asleep, we were still constantly worrying about him falling from our laps and couldn’t sleep well ourselves.  As a result, by the time we arrived at our destination, everyone was exhausted.

Once we arrived at our destination, the first thing everyone wanted was a good night of rejuvenating sleep.  This part was easier for us than some; since we had been co-sleeping at home, all three of us could sleep on the same bed, even if it’s not our own.  We did drag our Pack ‘n Play all the way to Hong Kong, hoping he might at least be content to play inside it while I get some housework done.  Alas, that thing was used about a handful of times, all ended in tears.

As to transporting the baby for sightseeing and around town, we opted not to bring our stroller–a big, fat, full-size Graco Quattro Tour Deluxe.  To us, bringing a stroller to Europe and Asia seemed illogical, or at least impractical.  There were too many people, too many narrow sidewalks and roads, too many stairs.  To me, strollers are just really for shopping malls.  My mom, who traveled to Greece as well (it was my brother’s destination wedding) didn’t agree with my decision.  She almost bought me an umbrella stroller when we first arrived in Athens, until I swore I would not use it even if she did buy one.

Instead, I was using a Kozy Carrier almost exclusively in Greece.  Well, more like DH was using the Kozy mei tai.  It’s great he loves babywearing as well!  In Hong Kong, I chose a Beco Butterfly 2 instead, because I was mostly traveling alone with DS and don’t have extra hands to keep straps/wraps from the ground.  I ride on the MTR (subway) all the time with DS in Butterfly2 in front, backpack diaper bag on my back, and sometimes his booster seat on the side if I knew we were going to a restaurant.  Half of the time, nobody would offer me a seat, but I never expected much.

Without any idea what the laundry situation would be like in Greece or Hong Kong, I chose to bring gDiapers and GroBaby, with their respective flushable soakers, for our diapering needs.  To me, that’s the next best thing to using cloth diapers.  Unfortunately, they were more prone to leaks than cloth diapers–partly because we weren’t very vigilant–so we had to bring extra sets of clothes in our diaper bag.

Looking back, I would call both trips a success.  DS was not very weary of the new environments or friendly strangers he met along the way.  Being with Mommy 100% of the time helped a lot.  The best part?  When he grows up, he can brag about being in three different continents before he turned one!