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Dear Owen,

As you lay sleeping on my bed beside me I am full of so many different emotions that it is hard to know where to begin.  If it is possible, I feel as if time is flying by even faster than it did with your big brother.  Life as mother of two seems to move at breakneck speed!  I fail to comprehend how a month of your life has already passed.

Becoming a parent the second time around has been altogether much easier and yet so very challenging all at the same time.  Your Daddy and I knew better how to look after a newborn and we are second guessing ourselves less.  We have simply decided to go with the flow and because of that I think we are responding to your needs pretty well and because of that, you have been a pretty “easy” baby.  As long as you are fed and warm (and preferably in someone’s arms!) you are quite a content little boy!  Life with a second baby seems very much to be more about coping than creating the “perfect” routine or following random “rules”.  So you are often nursed to sleep, and you have slept in our bed for at least part of every night since you were born.  The rest of the time you are happiest in our arms and we are almost always glad to indulge your preferences!

You are quite a good nurser and we seem to have hit our stride in that department fairly quickly.  It took us a bit of time to figure out your latch, but we’re good now and you’re quite an efficient eater.  Right now you are nursing about every 2 hours, which takes up a lot of my time, but I never mind snuggling with you…so it’s not really a hardship 🙂

In the sleep department it has been hit and miss – but I guess that is normal for a newborn too.  It took a little while for you to get your days and nights figured out and we have also struggled with some gas issues.  But for the most part you sleep quite well at night – usually a 3-4 hour stretch at the start of the night and then you wake every two hours after that.  When you’re gassy we often have to sleep with you on our chests for a while before you’ll let us lie you down, but for much of the night you are already sleeping quite happily in your own crib or bassinette.  During the day you nap on and off – usually in your swing or bouncy chair or – most happily – wrapped against Mommy’s chest!

You are quite calm in the car for such a little babe, although you sometimes fuss when we first strap you into your car seat.  Not that I blame you – a 5 point harness can’t be all that comfortable.  I should also point out that at the ripe old age of 2 1/2 weeks you went on your first airplane ride.  And you were a fabulous traveler!!  You slept most of the way and even did super well on the 4 hour drive from Edmonton back to Cold Lake once we arrived in Alberta.

Speaking of Alberta, we are finally back “home” after our stay in Comox.  Although we were ready to get back to our own house and our own routines, we were sad leave Auntie Gill and Uncle Brandon and all our friends in BC.  And I know that Auntie Gill was especially sad to see us leave, too!  Thankfully we don’t have long to wait to see her again, since she’s joining us for our trip to Ontario in August.

Some other notable things about your life at one month:

– Daddy is good at settling you when you’re all worked up;

– You are starting to follow my face with your eyes when I move; and,

– You are very tolerant of the many squeezes and cuddles you get from your big brother every day (both gentle and sometimes not-so-gentle!).

Some days I feel like you have been here for ever, and other days I am shocked that four weeks have already come and gone.  I am trying my best to savour the moments, to relax and let the less important things go so that I can concentrate on nurturing you and our little family, but I know I don’t always succeed at that.  What I am always successful at is loving you with all my heart.  Your Daddy and brother and I waited a very long 9 months for you to finally be here and now that you are, we are so so happy to have you!  You make me smile everyday, my sweet Owen, and I am certain that these first lovely weeks have only been a prelude to all the joy you will bring to our lives over the coming months and years.

Love Mommy

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I initially thought that one post in honour of International Babywearing Week was enough, but events over the weekend, that I just found out about today have urged me to post again.

Thankfully Megan is a more informed babywearing mama than I am and her post from yesterday informed me of the ongoing uproar over this Motrin add that ran on the US Motrin website until earlier this week when it was removed after babywearing Moms worldwide had their say on the issue!

There are lots of great posts all over the place about it: some of the ones I have enjoyed are at Adventures in Babywearing and Crunchy Domestic Goddess and the official letter to Motrin from Babywearing International. Definitely an interesting story about how fast information travels online and how quickly a  large group of moms can affect a change.  Motrin very quickly removed the ad and issued apologies.  I even sent them an e-mail at their site motrin.ca and received a response within hours.  I think they got the message loud. and. clear.

As for my personal opinion on the matter, I think it was a poorly researched, ill-timed ad that rightly offended a lot of people.  Will I boycott Motrin or Tylenol (also owned by Motrin)?  Probably not.  But what really bothers me is that there are likely still lots of people out there who honestly hold those uninformed opinions about babywearing – and not because they saw the ad, but because in so many communities alternative parenting methods are still so foreign.

Case in point…an acquaintance on mine who is expecting her first baby shortly was over at my house for dinner.  Knowing that she is fairly forward thinking on a number of issues, but not wanting to alienate a potential “new” friend I cautiously broached the subject of cloth diapers.  Her equally cautious response what that her and her partner were planning to try EC (if you don’t know what it is, I posted about it here and Jackie recently posted about it here).  She told me in the same hesitant tone that Dale and I told people about it when we were planning on trying it and she was relieved but a little shocked that I a) had heard about it before; and b) was totally suportive of it!

In Comox – not shockingly – I found many people to be extremely receptive of alternative, more natural parenting methods.  Not so in Cold Lake, Alberta!  And although I am not shocked by that fact, and I am not sure how to proceed  in the face of it.

Again, Megan got me to thinking in her wrap up post at the end when she talks about advocacy.  I am in total agreement with her that the best way to advocate is by setting a great example.  But I am at a bit of a loss sometimes as to how to do that.  And not just when it comes to parenting issues, but also in the general realm of living more naturally.

When is it appropriate to tell people that I work with that I chose to wipe my bum with cloth as an environment saving measure?  Ok – so probably never.  But what about my use of cloth handkerchiefs or the lack of paper towels in my house?  How about the fact that I try to buy Nate’s clothes used (difficult in Cold Lake thanks to the lack of consignment stores!) or that I have started making my own cleaning products?

How do I increase my sphere of influence without seeming like a self-righteous, pompous Officer/person?   I know I have this blog, and I feel that over the past year and a bit I have managed to contribute at least a little bit to the environmental momvement that has been spreading like wildfire in certain online communities, but I truly feel like I should be able to contribute more positively in my own community.  And I don’t feel very capable in that endeavour at the moment.  Of the 8-10 prenant women who I know personally right now in Cold Lake, only one of them is considering using cloth diapers.  None of them have seen a baby carrier that isnt a baby bjorn or a snuggly (not that those don’t count – because they totally do – but by their very nature they won’t be of much use for very long).

So aside from feeling like Dale and I are the odd couple in this town, I am totally unsure how I should attempt to change that fact!  I would love to know if any of you have struggled with this issue and whether you have had much success.  I don’t believe there is an overnight solution and perhaps the best way to affect change is for me to be a little more bold and open about the chioces I make and why they work for my family.  Does that make sense?

I hope so!

P.S.  Thanks for all the welcome advice on the bum-rash situation!  It is looking much better today and we’ll both me back at work tomorrow.  Allison – I think we will try a different brand of wipes! And Jackie –  I will e-mail Jenn to see what they tried!  You guys all rock!

Hello! How are you all?  I have missed you.  I know, I know.  I am the one who hasn’t been around much lately, but I’ve missed you nonetheless!  However this week I just had to post after Megan (who is also returning from a move-related hiatus – which I am very happy about – the return, not the hiatus…right, back to the blog)…so Megan told me her readers that this is International Babywearing Week and challenged all her readers to some good ol’ fashioned advocacy.  And although I am not usually a very strong advocate, I am all about promoting babywearing to other moms (and Dads too!) – especially of the “new” variety!  So even if you’re a parental type reading this, but already past the babywearing stage, make sure you pass on the info or link to friends and family who might find it useful.

img_6885Anyway, I’m sure there are going to be a million posts out there about how babywearing was a godsend for someone with a collicky/fussy/high needs baby and I don’t dispute those facts one iota.  I know that being able to wear your baby in those cases must be not only comforting for baby but I lifesaving skill for mama.  But to be brutally honest, I rarely had to wear Nate because he was fussy.  Ok – there were few times. But mostly I wore him because it was convenient for me.

That’s right.  It was less about him, and more about me.

img_6634So I want to show people another perspective on babywearing.  The active side of babywearing. Not the babywearing that keeps your hands free to clean your house and do your laundry.  But the babywearing that keeps your hands free to control your giant dog and throw his ball.  The babywearing that lets you walk on trails that are not even jogging-stroller friendly.  The babywearing that meant I didn’t have to lug a stroller through airports but still had my hands free for luggage and documents.  The babywearing that means you don’t have to lug around a cumbersome infant carseat that wrenches your back and the babywearing that means you don’t have to balance a toddler awkwardly on your hip while you pick up a parcel or some milk on the way home from work.  That’s the kind of babywearing I am thankful for.

img_6628Even now, when I wear Nate less frequently than when I was on maternity leave, it is odd for more than a day or two to go by when I don’t strap him to me at some point so that I can do something that would be more of a pain if I had to carry him in arms or lug a stroller with me.  And Dale is the same.  He has worn Nate right from the get go, and hasn’t stopped since despite.  He even managed to navigate the learning curve of back carries without assistance!

So if you think babywearing is only for people with fussy babies, think again.  Babywearing is also for active people with perfectly happy babies.  Like Eva and Jackie.  The only other advice I would impart is this:  if you want your baby to be comfortable in a carrier you need to use the carrier regularly.  I find whenever I have gone for an extended period without wearing Nate, it takes a few carries for him to get used to being on my back again.  So we take it slowly, limit the length of carries till he decides it’s comfy again, and voila!  As Megan said, happy mama, happy baby toddler!  Seriously – how do they grow up so fast???img_0773

As well, and post by me on babywearing wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my favourite babywearing accessory.  If you’re really in to being active while babywearing this is a must really, really nice-to-have item – a babywearing jacket from Suses Kinder.  I love, love, love my red and white version.  You can read more about it here, and rest assured I am just as much in love with it now as I was right after I bought it.  In fact Nate and I were out and about it our jacket during the first Cold Lake snowfall of the season just the other day.  We were both toasty warm and completely dry and very, very content.  And the new deluxe version by Suses Kinder even allows for a hip carry (in addition to the front and back carries!) in the jacket – which would be awesome for those quick trips into a store or down to the mail box!

Anyway you look at it – fussy baby or not.  Babywearing is great.  Google “benefits + babywearing” and you’ll surely come up with a million pages listing all the health and wellness that inevitably comes from mama (or Daddy) and baby being close.  And they are all true.  But there is also just the sheer joy of having your adorable baby/toddler peeking out over your shoulder or resting their head on your chest while you carry on with things that made you happy even before the arrival of your new tag-along!

So – did I advocate enough?  If not, here are a few more pics to prove how much all three four of us, love babywearing!

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A final note on the carriers pictured above:

-the wrap we used when Nate was a baby (the pictures where you can’t even see him!) is a Cuddly Wrap borrowed from my pal Kelly;

– the other green wrap in the hip cary pic is a 5M Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze;

– the carrier in the pic of Dale in the snow and by the river is a borrowed Kelty Kids carrier, which we didn’t love and didn’t use for long before we replaced it with the BECO baby carrier which is the bluish carrier you see in most of the pics;

– the brown pouch is a peanut shell which Nate didn’t love, so I sold;

– and finally, our hiking carrier is a Deuter which is fabulous for long hikes thanks to the vantage point and extra storage space.

Hives.

Which compared to chicken pox, or worse – measles – sounds pretty good.  But believe me – hives are not a good thing in a 1 year old.  He cried so hard when I applied the cortisone cream that I cried too.  It just breaks my heart to see him hurting and unhappy.

The better news is that the benadryl and steroids make him sleepy and he is out like a light. Hopefully he can sleep comfortably and will feel better in the morning once the medicine really kicks in.

Warning to those with feeble stomachs or soft hearts…the following pictures are graphic.  But I feel a desperate need so share, especially since I’m parenting on my own and have no friends to speak of in Cold Lake to share with!  So please forgive me, and skip the pics if you wish!

And specially for those of you who weathered the awful pictures, here is a happier Nate earlier in the day (before the hives got really, really bad, and just after a nap and bottle!)  This should cheer you up – Nate chillin’ at his new Ikea table and adorable red chairs!

Apparently I am not meant to go to work this week.  Instead I am destined to stay home with a sick child.  

Monday and Tuesday Nate was home from day care with a bad cold, diarrhea and a wicked diaper rash.  Wednesday I managed to go to work (although I had to leave early to take him to the doctor for his one year check up) and then last night at bath time I discovered a bunch of bumps on him that I was praying were bug bites.

But by this morning (after being up with my-usually-sound-sleeper 3 times through the night) the spots had multiplied and are all over his arms, legs, neck and torso.  Fun.

I’m thinking possibly chicken pox, although they haven’t started to blister yet so I can’t be sure.  He also had strawberries yesterday at the sitters, and although he has had them there before without a problem they could be the culprit.

In any case the little man is rather miserable.  He went back down for a morning nap just before 8, which is very early for him.  I am still holding out hope that this is not Chicken Pox and he will be back at day care tomorrow.  But I’m not holding my breath either!

I’m sure these feelings are totally normal.

I’m sure that they will pass.

I’m sure I’ll get through this.

And I’m positive that Nate will be fine.

But I just don’t feel at all ready to go back to work tomorrow.

My uniform is ready.

My boots are polished.

The babysitter is arranged and everything is set.

So why is my heart so heavy?  Why am I so nervous to leave my baby?

I keep reminding myself that I’ve left him before and he’s always been fine.  I keep reminding myself that he likes his babysitter.  I keep reminding myself that I’ll be home at lunch, and then it’s only three more hours until the end of the day.

But I also keep thinking…am I about to let a 17 year-old band geek (albeit a super nice and very responsible one!) raise my child??

At least Dale keeps reminding me that if this whole working “thing” doesn’t jive, I don’t have to do it.

Why is it that on the days when you want them to have a short nap because you have places to go and things to do they sleep for over an hour and a half, but on the days when you would kill for them to have a nice long nap so you can do (fill in the blank here), they nap for about 30 seconds??

Why?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Anyone?

Seriously, I don’t get it.

Well, May is quickly coming to a close and I am nowhere close to having answered all the fabulous questions you posed back at the beginning of the month!  The month has turned out to be rather busy, especially since the nice weather has finally arrived.  Only 2 more sleeps until Nate and I pack our bags and head East for a month of family time with Daddy and the grandparents in Ontario.  I am soooooo looking forward to seeing Dale on Friday that I am positively giddy at times in anticipation.  At other times, however, I am totally down in the dumps feeling like Friday will never arrive.  I am extremely ready to pass Nate over into Daddy’s waiting arms and take some much needed sanity time for me.   Saturday morning I have a very long appointment with a bed!

But in the meantime I decided today I would answer Reesh’s question on schooling “Do you think you’ll home school, public school or use some sort of alternate schooling (Waldorf/Montessori) for Nate? Are you planning on going back to work before he’s ready for school?”.  For anyone who doesn’t know, Reesh is practically my raison d’etre in the blogosphere.  I found her blog way back in February of 2007 when I was newly pregnant with Nate and she was newly pregnant with Nadia.  It turns out she lives only about 20 minutes from me and now we are not only online pals…but also real-life friends. Very cool.  You can check her out here, although she’s been a bit busy of late getting a new business up and running (which you should totally post about Reesh!!).

So, first I’ll answer the easy part of Reesh’s question.  Yes, for better or worse, I am going back to work in July.  Luckily as a member of the Canadian Forces Air Reserve I am able to go back to work part time (3 days per week) to start with.  Things might get somewhat complicated in the fall when we move to Cold Lake, but that’s a long story for another post.  Bottom line, I am planning on working part time for the foreseeable future; although if I have the opportunity to take a full time contract I would likely accept.  The money is great and the hours are reasonable and I am blessed to have a husband who works shift work and can often be home during the day with Nate.  I am not totally sure how I feel about going back to work again so soon, but I guess I’ll figure it out as I go.  I know that I can always change my mind down the road and go back to being home with Nate.

As for the homeschooling vs. regular schooling, when you first posed this questions I would have said 100% for sure, without-a doubt-in-my-mind regular schooling.  I had absolutely zero interest in homeschooling.  Why would I want to be Nate’s teacher??  I’m already his Mom and that is a hard enough job.  But then Christy posted this.

And I felt like she was writing about me when she was talking about her experiences in school.  I am wonderful at memorizing, but then I forget.  I have no lasting passion for anything that I have learned.  And perhaps that’s just my nature, but maybe – just maybe – it’s the way I was schooled.

So all of a sudden I’m considering how I want Nate to be schooled.  Maybe homeschooling isn’t so crazy after all.  Maybe it could be for us. Maybe.  Of course it’s still a long ways off and we’ll likely have moved at least twice by then.  So I’m not committing to anything here, except to thinking about my options.  And I’m definitely planning to do some reading on homeschooling before we make any kind of decision on the matter.

I can’t really see us sending Nate (or his future siblings) to an alternative school because it could get really messy with us moving around a lot.  Some small places like Cold Lake probably don’t have a lot of options in that department.  But I guess I wouldn’t totally rule it out either.

What I do like about the thought of homeschooling is the flexibility.  I am fairly certain that I could be disciplined enough to stick to a schedule most of the time, but I love the idea that you can take your learning on the road.  When my sister and I were growing up my parents never hesitated to take us out of school for short periods of time in order to travel.  They trusted that we would learn just as much during a week away in a new place as we would in a week of school.  And I am so happy that they had that opinion because otherwise we would have missed out on a lot of fun and adventure.

I also love the idea that I could potentially help Nate pursue things that he’s passionate about.  Not that you can’t do that in regular school, but it sounds like it would be a lot easier if we were homeschooling.  It would definitely be fun to explore different topics with him, especially if he was really into them.

Ultimately I think the idea of homeschooling may be a bit of wishful thinking.  But who knows.  He won’t be in school for another 4 1/2 years and although I know that in some sense those years will fly by, a lot can change in that amount of time and we’ll just have to figure out what works for us when the time comes.

I would really love to hear what y’all think about this topic!  Anyone else swayed by Christy’s post (which you really must read!) or have different thoughts and opinions?  I’m all ears!

Since Allison is so desperately trying not to focus on the fact that someone is coming back for a second look at her house (which is for sale) I thought I would provide some distraction in the form of an answer to her question, “When are you making a sibling for Nate? )

The short answer is not for quite a while. As in at least a few years. Preferably not until we can have another birth with a midwife…which is not very likely in Cold Lake. Because I can’t imagine having to go to a doctor and have a baby in a hospital after my wonderful home birth experience.

I have always wanted a decent spacing between babies anyway, mostly based on personal experience. My sister and I are 3 1/2 years apart in age and we are best friends. Of course as kids we fought just like all siblings – especially as teenagers – but even then we were best friends at heart. We stuck up for one another and defended eachother to our parents. And I’ve often thought that we were pretty perfectly spaced age wise. We were far enough apart in age that we had our own groups of friends and could easily have our own interests, but still close enough that we could play and hang out pretty happily.

I’m sure everyone has their own strong opinion on the spacing matter…and I imagine that those opinions are often based on personal experience with siblings, good or bad. I also want to make sure that I have time to spend enjoying Nate and that by the time a new baby arrives, Nate is old enough to be a bit more independent so that I can have that same kind of time to enjoy a new little life.

I know many of you have kids more closely spaced than that, so I’m interested to hear why you thought closer was better (if you chose the spacing!! Perhaps it wasn’t really planned that way! LOL)??

So the bottom line is there won’t be any babymaking going on ’round these parts for a while. That is, unless I forget to take my birth control pills yet again!

With some of my birthday money I decided to purchase the documentary series Planet Earth, which I had heard good things about. And I am so glad that I did!

If any of you are looking for an educational alternative to junky reality t.v., this is most definitely it! Planet Earth is an 11 part documentary mini-series produced by the BBC. In the US, it is being marketed by Discovery Channel (and I believe the US version also has a different narrator). The series was over 5 years in the making and the 11 episodes document some of the most amazing terrain and animals on our planet.

I am astounded by the incredible footage that these super-talented film crews have been able to capture. One of the most interesting features of the DVD is that each episode also includes a “diary” segment documenting the efforts of the crews to film some of the planet’s most remote areas and elusive species.

I really can’t say enough about the educational value of this series. I have always considered myself decently knowledgeable about the planet…but after the series I think I have learned more in 11 hours than I did during my entire high school geography and science career!

The series does a fantastic job at portraying the astonishing extremes of climate and landscape that exist on earth as well as the unbelievable diversity of species that live in these harsh and unforgiving circumstances. It is giving me a whole new appreciation for what we stand to lose if we don’t start looking after our environment soon.

A few of my favourite tidbits of newly acquired knowledge:

  • the world’s only fresh water seals live in the world’s largest fresh water lake in the heart of Siberia
  • there is a dessert in South America that sustains life only because of daily fogs that role in off the pacific and provide fresh water for the species that live there
  • wild camels in the Gobi dessert in Mongolia survive by eating small amounts of snow
  • there are species so rare that they are only found in one cave system in Borneo
  • there is a cave dwelling type of salamander, which after millions of years of never being exposed to day light, no longer has eyes!
  • to this day, we have no knowledge of where blue whales (the largest mammals ever to live on earth!!) go to mate and birth their young
  • mama animals of many kinds (whales, bears and sea turtles to name a few) often go without food for months on end so that they can rear their young in areas safe from predators

For any of my local readers…let me know if you are interested in watching the series – I would be happy to lend it to you. For those of you at a greater distance, I highly encourage you to find out when the series is playing on the Discovery Channel or borrow it from your local library. I guarantee you will learn something new in every episode and I can’t imagine anyone not being impressed by the spectacular film footage of our amazing planet. It’s a fabulous reminder of how old our planet is and how careful we need to be to ensure we don’t destroy it.  I’m still in the process of watching the last few segments which focus on how humans are impacting the planet and what me may be able to do to curb the destruction, so I’ll be sure to post my comments on those episodes when I’m finished!

In the meantime, I’m headed down Island for two days to visit my high school pal Rachel and her little boy Carter and then to see my dear friend Laura and her hubby Peng Fei (who haven’t met Nate yet!).  I’m really looking forward to a few days of visiting and hoping beyond hope that Nate will do ok in the car.  We haven’t done much road-tripping and what little we have done has always been with Daddy and Turner along as well.  So keep your fingers crossed that my first solo weekend away with my little man goes smoothly!