Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wool Longies

I have been wanting to make wool longies for awhile, but never remember to look at sweaters when we're out and about. I found a nice wool sweater for 50 cents at a garage sale today and turned it into these.

I am kicking myself for not looking for more wool sweaters, but the kids were getting impatient with me since there were no toys at the garage sale. 

If I can find more cheap sweaters, I think I'd like to make a quilt from them. I've never made a quilt and am not certain I even have the patience for one, but the end product would be soft, warm and inexpensive. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Funny Observation

When I had one child, I was very busy, but the house was seldom clean, many things I cooked were not from scratch and I didn't have any time to devote to yard work or gardening. 

Now that I have two, I am still very busy, but the house is usually put together, most of what I make is from scratch, we have a huge garden and I feel lost if I don't have any major projects to occupy my time in the evenings. 

It seems to make sense then, that when baby #3 gets here, my house will be immaculate, I will be better than Betty Crocker and I will be selling the things I craft . Right?

Celebrating Summer

31 Weeks

Believe it or not, I will get bigger. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I finally finished all 54 diapers and two covers. 32 of the diapers were for others and the rest have been added to my stash. I feel sort of liberated now that I'm done and have been going crazy with other crafting. 

Last night I made the kids crayon and notebook holders out of felt. Maeve will hate the one for her because it's black and pink and not green and blue. Finn will eat the crayons. They're cute though and will be good for the diaper bag and outings. 

I've also been making felt food. My kids certainly don't need anymore pretend food, but I want to have little prizes for them when their brother is born. I made chocolate chip cookies, heart shaped sugar cookies, cheese slices and my most favorite is similar to this except my cookies are pumpkin shaped. I'd also like to make crackers, ravioli, chips in a bag and possibly lollipops if I can figure them out. 

I've been making beads too. They take a bit of time, but look neat when finished and I won't feel completely terrible when Finn eats one. I'd like to make a big bowl full of beads for sensory play and so that Maeve can make necklaces and bracelets. This is where I got my inspiration. 

I'm also in the process of printing off worksheets, games and activities for the kids. Maeve goes through spurts where she loves worksheets so I've been sorting them by subject/content and putting them in file folders. There are a couple of sites that offer sample worksheets from their workbooks and also sample games. It takes a bit of digging, but the worksheets are nice and the games are simple and colorful. Here is one site and I can't remember the name of the other site and am too lazy to find the catalog. 

There will probably be several other projects in the next nine weeks. At some point, I should pack the hospital bags and start making freezer meals for when the grandparents are with the kids and for when we get home. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finished Projects

Baby Boy's name will be on the left of the curtain and will match Finn's name. 

Maeve put all of her flower and butterfly stickers on the wall. She did a great job, although you can't see details in the pictures. She has also finally agreed to let me make her curtains match so the polka dots will be going away.

Also, if you've noticed the lack of beds, I assure you that we do not make the children sleep on the floor. They both still sleep with us and will move whenever one of us is ready for change.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Interesting Reads

I found this and completely agree:

The same doctor also wrote the following, but my husband edited for clarity and grammar.

The normal newborn and why breast milk is not just food

Ah, yes...

I have often told people that I have a twisted view of parenting.
Well, here it is, in all its glory.

What is a normal term human infant supposed to do?

First of all, a human baby is supposed to be born vaginally.  Yes, I
know that doesn't always happen, but we're just going to talk ideal,
normal circumstance for now.  We are supposed to be born vaginally
because we need good bacteria.  Human babies are sterile, without
bacteria, at birth.  It's no accident that we are born near the anus,
an area that has lots of bacteria, most of which are good and
necessary for normal gut health and development of the immune system.
And the bacteria that are there are mom's bacteria, bacteria that she
can provide antibodies against if the bacteria there aren't nice.

Then the baby is born and is supposed to go to mom.  Right to her
chest.  The chest, right in between the breasts is the natural habitat
of the newborn baby.  Our cardiac output, which is how much blood we
circulate in a given minute, is distributed to places that are
important.  Lots goes to the kidneys every minute, about 10% or so,
and 20% goes to your brain.  In a new mom, 23% goes to her chest -
more than to her brain.  The body thinks that place is important, and
rightfully so.

The chest area gives heat.  The baby has been using mom's body for
temperature regulation for nine months.  Why would they stop now, and
what other option do they have?  With all that blood flow, it's going
to be warm.  The baby can use mom to get warm.  When I was in my
residency, we would put a cold baby "under the warmer" which meant a
heater thingy next to mom.  Now, if a baby is "under the warmer," the
kid feels as if it is under the mom.  I wouldn't like that.  I like
the kids on top of mom, snuggled.

Now we have a brand new baby on the warmer.  That child is not hungry.
Bringing a hungry baby into the world is a bad plan.  And really, if
they were hungry, can you please explain to me why my kids sucked the
life force out of me in those last few weeks of pregnancy?  They
better have been getting food, or that would have been annoying and
painful for nothing.

Every species has instinctual behaviors that allow the little ones to
grow up to be big ones and keep the species going.  Our kids are born
into the world needing protection.  Protection from disease and from
predators.  Yes, predators.  Our kids don't know they've been born
into a loving family in the 21st century - for all they know it's the
2nd century and they are in a cave surrounded by tigers.  Our
instinctive behaviors as baby humans need to help us stay protected.
Babies get both disease protection and tiger protection from being on
mom's chest.  Presumably, we gave the baby some good bacteria when
they arrived through the birth canal.  That's the first step in
disease protection.  The next step is getting colostrum.

A newborn baby on mom's chest will pick their head up, lick their
hands, maybe nuzzle mom, and start to slide towards the breast.  The
kids have a preference for contrasts between light and dark, and for
circles over other shapes.  Think about that.  There's a dark circle
not too far away.

Mom's sweat smells like amniotic fluid, and that smell is on the
child's hands (because there's been no bath yet) and the baby uses
that taste on their hands to follow mom's smell.  The secretions
coming from the glands on the aureole (that dark circle) smell
familiar and help the baby get to the breast to get the colostrum
which is going to feed the good bacteria and keep the baby protected
from infection.  The kids can attach by themselves.  Watch for
yourself if you need further proof.  And if you just need colostrum to
feed bacteria and not yourself, well, there doesn't have to be much.
And there isn't much because the newborn isn't hungry and does not
need immediate sustenance.

We're talking normal babies.  Breastfeeding is normal.  It's what
babies are hardwired to do.  2009 or 209, the kids would all do the
same thing:  try to find the breast.  Breastfeeding isn't a magic
.  It's not "best".  It's normal.  Just normal.  Designed for
the needs of a vulnerable human infant.  And nothing else designed to
replace it is normal.

Colostrum also activates things in the baby's gut that then go on to
make the thymus grow.  The thymus is part of the immune system.
Growing your thymus is important.  Breast milk equals a big thymus and
therefore, a good immune system.  Colostrum also has a bunch of
something called Secretory Immunoglobulin A (SIgA).  SIgA is made in
the first few days of life and is infection protection given
specifically to the infant from mom.  Cells in mom's gut watch what is
coming through and if there's an infectious agent, a special cell in
mom's gut called a plasma cell heads to the breast and helps the
breast make SIgA in the milk to protect the baby.  If mom and baby are
together and breast feeding, then the baby is protected from what the
two of them may be exposed to.  Again, babies should be with mom.

And the tigers.  What about them?  Define "tiger" however you want.
But if you are a baby with no skills in self-protection, beyond
wanting to stay with your mother at all times - having a grasp reflex,
and a startle reflex that helps you grab onto your mom, especially if
she's hairy, makes sense.  Babies know the difference between a
bassinet and a human chest.   When infants are separated from their
mothers, they have a "despair-withdrawal" response.  The despair part
comes when they alone, separated.  The kids are vocally expressing
their desire not to be tiger food.  When they are picked up, they stop
crying.  They are protected, warm and safe.  If that despair cry is
not answered, they withdraw.  They get cold, have massive amounts of
stress hormones released, drop their heart rate and get quiet.  That's
not a good baby.  That's one who is beyond despair.  Normal babies
want to be held, all the time.

And when do tigers hunt?  At night.  It makes no sense at all for our
kids to sleep at night, or alone.  They may be eaten.  Imagine the ape
who sets a newborn baby in a nest, and then retires to another tree
for a good nights sleep.  There's nothing really all that great about
kids sleeping through the night.  They should wake up and find their
body guard.  There are not as many threats in the daytime.  They sleep
better during the day.  (Think about our response to our tigers -
sleep problems are a result of stress, depression and anxiety).

I go on and on about sleep on this site, so maybe I'll gloss over it
here.  But everybody sleeps with their kids - whether they choose to
or not and whether they admit to it or not.  It's silly of us as
health care providers to say "don't sleep with your baby" because we
all do it.  Sometimes accidentally.  Sometimes intentionally.  The
kids are snugly, it feels right and you are tired.  So, normal babies
breastfeed, stay at the breast, want to be held and sleep better when
they are with their parents.  Seems normal to me.  But there is a
difference between a normal mother and one that isn't.  Safe sleep
means that we are sober, not smoking, not on a couch or a recliner,
but in bed, breastfeeding.  Being normal.  If the circumstances are
not normal, then sleeping with the baby is not safe.

That chest to chest contact is also brain development.  Our kids have
as many brain cells as they will ever have at 28 weeks of gestation.
It's a jungle of waiting to be connected cells.  We have like 8
nipples, a tail and webbed hands in the womb.  If all goes well, we
don't have those at birth.  What we do as humans is create too much
and then get rid of what we aren't using.  So, as you are snuggling,
your child is hooking up happy brain cells and hopefully getting rid
of the "eek" brain cells.  Breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, is brain
wiring.  Not just food.

Why go on and on about this?  Because more mothers are choosing to
breastfeed, and I want to encourage that.  But most women don't
believe that the body that created this beautiful baby is capable of
feeding that same child and we are supplementing more and more with
infant formulas designed to be food.  Why don't we trust our bodies
postpartum?  I don't know.  But I hear over and over that the formula
is used because "I am just not satisfying him."  Of course you are.
Babies don't need to "eat" all the time - they need to be with you all
the time - that's the ultimate satisfaction.

A baby at the breast is getting their immune system developed,
activating their thymus, staying warm, feeling safe from predators,
having normal sleep patterns and wiring their brain, and (oh by the
way) getting some food in the process.  They are not "hungry" - they
are obeying instinct.  The instinct that allows us to survive and make
more of us.