Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Breech Baby?

Audrey was a Frank breech baby. The details on the timing are fuzzy, but I think at about 28 weeks, my midwife started to notice that Audrey was head up. At about 32 weeks, my midwife sent me for an ultra sound to confirm. There Audrey was, a perfect V, bum straight down and her head up.

I became fixated with not having a c-section. I devoured every article on the subject since I wanted to inform and prepare myself. I also researched every way to try to get her to turn - and I tried almost each and every one of them. From lying down inverted, to burning moxibustion sticks beside my pinky toe, going to the pool, the Webster technique, acupuncture, meditation, and an ECV.

As the weeks passed, I could feel her hard head growing larger on my right side, just under my ribs. She wouldn't budge. I became increasingly alarmed and bummed out by the idea of having a cesarean. And it went on like that for about four or five weeks.

Now, at 29 weeks, I can sometimes feel that familiar hard lump emerging in the exact same spot. Unmistakable. But unlike Audrey, this one shifts and moves, so it's a good sign.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Instant Travel Photographer

Ok, not exactly a travel photographer. I'm happy to report that one of my Flickr images has been selected for the Memphis Schmap guide.

You can view my work here:

If you don't see my photo of the cash register immediately on the top right, scroll A. Schwab's Dry Goods Store (in the middle column) and the images in the right will cycle through.

Cool, huh?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Audrey Out of Bed

When we woke up today, Audrey must of heard us talking because before you knew it, we could hear the patter of her feet walking down the hall. She happily swung the door open and announced, "Audrey got out of bed!"

I guess a lot of parents would dread this moment - when your kid discovers that nothing is really penning her in and that she has the choice and ability to get up when the mood strikes her. It means that my "luxurious" 7:00 wake up call my now become 6:00 or - ack - 5:30 am. Or worse yet, that Audrey might get up in the middle of the night thinking that it's time to get up.

But I don't see the downside (yet). To me, it's a sign that my little girl is growing up.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Flying With a Toddler, Part 3: Pick Your Seat

I couldn't have planned my last flight to Vancouver any better. We went out in late July since it was the only time we could get off before Audrey turned two years old and we'd have to pay for her fare. Here's my next tip in my series of Flying With a Toddler.

Tip 3: Pick Your Seat

There's a whole strategy with picking your seat. If you plan well and are a bit lucky, you'll end up with a spare seat for your under-two-year-old to use without having had to pay for it. Having that spare seat is really handy. Audrey could lie down and have a snooze for a few hours, leaving us free to get up and stretch or eat a little over-priced Mr. Noodles unencumbered.

Strategy #1: Always pre-book, even if you have to pay a little extra.

Strategy #2: Look for planes that have three seats in the middle between the two aisles, or at least three seats in a row. I've purposely crossed flights off of my list if they didn't have a larger plane with this configuration. If you are travelling with another adult, book the two outer seats, leaving the one in the middle free. The chances of a single person booking the middle seat between you and your travel companion are slim if there are other options available. And if in the rare chance it does happen, you could request that the person switch seats so that you and your travelling companion are sitting beside each other. After all, who wants to sit between two parents and their toddler?

Strategy #3: Choose seats towards the back of the plane. The seats toward the front of the plane seem to get booked first, so you'll have better odds at getting an empty seat if you're at the back of the plane.

Strategy #4: If it's not possible to get an empty seat based upon the pre-booking seating plan, request the bulkhead. This way, you'll get more leg room and your little toddler will have a chance to stretch his or her legs without crowding the aisle.

Strategy #5: Ask the flight attendant if you or anyone else can be moved to allow for a free seat. After all, the unlucky passenger who might be sitting beside you would likely prefer to be sitting beside a quiet (or even chatty) adult, rather than a potentially screaming, drooly baby that might potentially spit up on him. This is my least favourite strategy, but one that I've employed so that two young girls could sit somewhere else to allow for my husband to sit beside me and freeing up an empty seat between us. I actually think those girls appreciated it.

Two trips ago, I had the flight from hell, squeezed against the window beside a woman who would not stop talking to me. No leg room, no view. Just me and my overly tired daughter who had been up since 5:30 that morning. I was regretting having switched planes, which had a luxurious amount of open seats and ended up being only 30 minutes later than the flight I ended up with.

Then again, you could always splurge and just buy that extra seat.

View Other Travelling Tips:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Toddler vs. Teen

I was talking with some co-workers today about the similarities between teens and toddlers. Both are really hormonal and are exploring independance. Audrey frequently challenges my opinion on things and insists on doing things her own way.

I can't blame her really. It must be incredibly frustrating to be a toddler.

Toddlers have no concept of days of the week. So on Saturday, she might get up, have breakfast and watch an episode of her beloved Dora the Explorer. Sunday - the same. But come Monday, she will happily eat her cereal, excitedly set her spoon down, march to the top of the stairs and pronounce "Dora now?" Well, it would be terribly random of me to say no. I can see how it would be unfair.

Same thing for diapers. When we go out on the weekends, we put her in the pull ups that are slightly less absorbant than the regular ones. She prefers the pull ups - I think she finds them more comfortable, and likes the pictures of the Disney "princesses" (yes, she can point out the Little Mermaid). So when we put her in regular diapers before bed time, well, that must seem pretty random too.

Every morning is a battle of wills with changing her out of her PJs. Finally, I ask her in my very serious quiet calm voice to co-operate, and that seems to get her to give in. It's about her asserting her independance.

Someone asked me today if she was going through the terrible twos. I have to honestly say no or at least, not yet. But I wonder if she isn't going through it because I'm just not seeing it that way. It's been incredibly helpful to see the world through her eyes and has given me tremendous patience in some of the most frustrating situations.

I have no idea if it's at all similar with teens or how I'll cope when that comes. I guess I'll just have to find out.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

29 Weeks

29 weeks to go. I'm amazed that I really have only 11 weeks until B-day. I am freaking out about the baby's positioning. Audrey was a breech birth and it was about this time in that pregnancy where the midwives were starting to get concerned about her positioning. I think the baby did a flip flop over the past few days and has moved head down. Yay!

Here's what Baby Center has to say about it:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Potty "Learning"

Audrey is in the process of learning how to go to the potty. As I write this, I'm struck by how utterly ridiculous it is to blog about the progress of my daughter's number 1s and 2s, but this is a blog about toddlers, newborns and pregnancy and you are reading this.

I'm winging it a bit, but I'm also doing some anecdotal research - asking relatives, friends - as well as reading articles and books. There seems to be lots of general articles about the topic, but not a lot of step-by-step information. It's probably the project manager side of me coming through, but I would really like the whole thing broken out in "phases". You know - Phase 1, introduce the potty, but don't push it. Let your toddler discover it herself. Phase 2...

Anyhoo, nothing so spelled out for me. Likely because all children are different, blah, blah blah.

One interesting change is the introduction of the term "potty learning", instead of "potty training". The thought is that children don't really need to be trained on how to go to the bathroom - that the process of learning how to recognize the urge and developing the muscle control to wait until the right moment to actually go to the bathroom.

I have to admit, I was first offended by the term. It seemed a bit schlocky and PCish and didn't see what the big deal was with the idea of training Audrey on how to use a toilet. (It actually seems that the term "training" is offensive when it comes to anything relating to raising children, but more on that for another post.)

I'm not sure when the term was first introduced. I happen to have a early 90s edition of the venerable Penelope Leach's Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five and she uses the term there. For some reason, when she uses it, the phrase all of a sudden gains credibility for me. I suppose it does make sense that a child will learn how to control their bodily functions at some point and that we are indeed not "training" them to do that - merely showing them that pee actually belongs in a toilet and not in their pants.

I have a love-hate relationship with William Sears, the uber attachment parent guru. I did buy his "infotainment" book You Can Go to the Potty, which educates toddlers about the mechanics of going to the potty, which has been extraordinarily helpful.

Anyway, I've come around to the term, but I still won't use it in public. It just sounds too ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dora Addiction

Jesse and I don't watch a whole lot of TV so I didn't expect that our kids would either. Not that it makes much difference, but I expected that our kids would mostly watch movies so we could control what they were watching, as well as avoid commercials. I don't have a thing against kids watching TV per se - just in excess.

So to my surprise, I've created a little Dora the Explorer addict. I don't know exactly how it happened since I had no clue who Dora was three years ago. The first time I had heard or seen Dora was when I was pregnant and saw her on TVO while I was recovering from my appendectomy (yes, at 16 weeks pregnant).

Audrey's addiction runs deep. She doesn't just request to watch TV, she specifically asks for "TV Dora". She started just asking for Dora, but when we purposely would respond with a Dora book, she found a way to be more specific. And I've had to deal with many a puddle of tears and tantrums after I've told Audrey that she can't watch Dora before she goes to daycare during the week.

It's not like we give her free reign to watch Dora. Audrey has even picked up on our aversion to letting her watch Dora; when she asks, she now says "TV Dora - a little bit?" or "TV Dora - maybe?" Or, when an episode winds down with the "We did it" song, she makes sure to put in a request for another episode right away - even though the current episode has about 3 minutes left on it.

Audrey's love of Dora isn't limited to the TV show. She also has a good collection of books, two Dora dolls, a Dora the Explorer suitcase shaped like a school bus, a Dora blanket, a Dora sippy cup and plate and bowl set at her Grandparents', a basket shaped like Dora's head, and Dora alphabet flash cards.

I'm not entirely sure how the obsession started, but I can't deny that I'm largely to blame - after all, I'm the one that bought her that Dora sleeper and continue to tell people that Dora-anything would make a good gift.

I suppose the most annoying thing is that Dora (and her eight-year-old cousin Diego) are everywhere. Nick Jr. has really pulled together an unstoppable marketing machine. Today, we were at the drugstore and walked by some greeting cards. Audrey didn't hesitate to point out the Dora birthday card, which was conveniently at her eye-level. Dora stickers are available in her Minigo, as birthday balloons, clothing - whatever you can possibly think of. And I'll admit, I have bought products, specifically because they have Dora on them.

Damn them.

But it's not so bad. I must admit that I like Dora. A co-worker also pointed out to me that Dora made a great role model for girls. I have to agree. Since Audrey is half-Filipino, I like that Dora is the first Hispanic cartoon character, and a girl at that. I like that Audrey is presented with a lot of opportunities to learn shapes, colours and numbers, as well as challenge her memory and problem-solving skills. The fact that Dora also teaches Spanish is an added bonus - to our surprise, Audrey knows how to count to 10 in Spanish with some skill.

So I guess TV and Dora has a place in my daughter's life. And I can't deny - she has become a brilliant child. :)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Chi Mi Na Morbheanna

A few posts ago, I wrote about Audrey's bed time ritual. Part of it includes listening to music. Not as a crutch to listen to as she went to sleep, but to signal to her that she should be getting ready to go to sleep.

Almost every night, our song of choice is "Chi Mi Na Morbheanna", the first song on The Planet Sleeps. Sung by the Rankin Family (and the only song that I actually know by them), this song is incredibly beautiful, melodic and relaxing - and I had absolutely no idea what the Gaelic lyrics meant, until now:

Mist Covered Mountains

Oh, roe, soon shall I see them, oh,
Hee-roe, see them, oh see them.
Oh, roe, soon shall I see them,
the mist covered mountains of home!

There shall I visit the place of my birth.
They'll give me a welcome the warmest on earth.
So loving and kind, full of music and mirth,
the sweet sounding language of home.


There shall I gaze on the mountains again.
On the fields, and the hills, and the birds in the glen.
With people of courage beyond human ken!
In the haunts of the deer I will roam.


Hail to the mountains with summits of blue!
To the glens with their meadows of sunshine and dew.
To the women and the men ever constant and true,
Ever ready to welcome one home!


Here is a Gaelic version of this song:

Chi Mi Na Morbheanna

O chi, chi mi na morbheanna
O chi, chi mi na corrbheanna
O chi, chi mi na coireachan
Chi mi na sgoran fo cheo.

Chi mi gun dail an t-aite 's an d'rugadh mi
Cuirear orm failt' 's a' chanain a thuigeas mi
Gheibh mi ann aoidh abus gradh 'n uair ruigeam
Nach reicinn air thunnaichean oir.


Chi mi ann coilltean, chi mi ann doireachan
Chi mi ann maghan bana is toraiche
Chi mi na feidh air lar nan coireachan
Falaicht' an trusgan de cheo.


Beanntaichean arda is aillidh leacainnean
Sluagh ann an comhnuidh is coire cleachdainnean
'S aotrom mo cheum a' leum g'am faicinn
Is fanaidh mi tacan le deoin.


I really love this lullaby album - all international songs. We used to listen to a lullaby CD by Laura Nashman, but the flute was really getting on my nerves. Before that, I had a rolling loop of the ocean. Perfect, except for the synthesizer interludes someone inserted.

Any advice on lullaby albums?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Attachment Parenting

I could say a lot about the subject of attachment parenting and probably will here and in future posts. I thought I'd list my biases here, clear as day (or not), so you could see what slant all my posts are written with.

I actually think of myself right in the middle and have adopted or considered adopting practices from both sides - although I'm not entirely sure what you'd call the opposite of attachment parenting.

Some things that I've done that are considered to be attachment parenting:
  • Co-slept with my daughter (although not full time)
  • Breast fed, and tried damn hard to continue to do so as long as possible, even though I had enough crying bouts about it in the beginning and even though I went back to work part time when Audrey was seven months old.
  • Breast fed within 30 minutes of her being born. A challenge considering I was having a c-section.
  • Had her lie on my chest all icky and vernixy soon after she was born - even though I was having a c-section.
Some things that would be considered the exact opposite of attachment parenting:
  • Fed on a timed but flexible schedule (not on demand). I followed the Baby Whisperer's advice on this one.
  • Employed the Ferber method of cry-it-out to help her learn how to go to sleep - albeit after months of my other methods not working and only after she was a year old.
  • Had her sleeping in her crib early on and as much as possible.
As I write this list, I'm struck by how hard it is to come up with the non-attachment things, although the ones on my list seem like definite attachment parent no-nos.

I'll add to this list as time passes....

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Johnny Cash Does Kids Songs

I'm a huge Johnny Cash fan. Ever since we went to Memphis in 2005. Memphis is a great place if you ever want somewhere kind of kooky to visit. Graceland's Jungle Room alone is worth the trip.

Anyway, as I've said, I'm a huge Johnny Cash fan. So when I found out he had a children's album, I was right into it. I don't even mind that the lyrics are so non-PC - that's actually part of the appeal.

Turns out that Audrey is a huge fan too. After each song, she yells, "Again!" and we play "Nasty Dan" or "I Got A Boy And His Name Is John" over and over again.

I'm grateful for her penchant for the Man in Black. It means I'm not tortured by hours of Raffi or Fred Penner and "Baby Beluga" or "Take You Riding in My Car-Car". Or worse - humming them during meetings with my co-workers. It's bad enough that I can't get the Dora the Explorer theme song out of my head.

She also loves Bob Marley. What can I say - the girl has taste.

I'd love to hear more recommendations for kids music.