Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Best Bottom

During Holden's second week, we celebrated a milestone that my childless self would have scoffed at. Holden lost his umbilical cord stump, and we started him in his cloth diapers! We have a full set of Best Bottom diapers with snaps and so far, they have been a smashing success. We've been doing laundry about every other day, and while our system needs a bit of refining, it is working pretty well in general.

We are really liking the Best Bottom system; everything feels super secure. Also, I was amazed that, upon starting with cloth, Holden's diaper rash vanished. Pretty cool!

Finally, I've been loving the purse-turned-diaper-bag given to me by Robin's mom. It is a beautiful, beautiful bag and it happens to be big enough to serve as a diaper bag. I loved my Petunia Picklebottom bag that I carried with Lydia, but after carrying a diaper bag for a few years, I was ready to just carry a great normal bag that happened to have diapers inside!

Some of our cloth diapering specifics, for those that are interested:

We have eight shells and eighteen liners. This gets us through two days easily, and we'll see how this shifts as Holden's digestive tract continues to develop.

When diapers or shells are dirty, they go right into a wet bag kept in a drawer in our changing table. As of now with Holden only consuming breastmilk, we haven't found the need to immediately rinse out the diapers. We do have use a product called "Shake It Up" from Rockin' Green in the wet bag to keep smells at bay in the nursery, and it works well. When ready to wash the diapers, we rinse them in the laundry sink next to our washing machine. I'm sure this will evolve as Holden's diet evolves.

We are using Rockin' Green soap, largely because I am a sucker for yummy smells and cute packaging, plus it came highly recommended.

I keep my diaper bag stocked with an extra shell and 2-3 extra liners along with a small wet bag and a handful of wipes.

We are using wipes cut from fleece. I figured if we were washing diapers, we could easily wash wipes also. I'm rethinking the use of fleece, though, and may make some wipes from flannel when I get some time. (Do you think Holden will still be in diapers come 2016?)

On the rare occasion that Holden is showing signs of diaper rash, I toss a fleece liner over the microfiber liners so that we can use diaper cream without clogging up the microfiber. This has worked well, though Holden's skin stays pretty happy with the cloth.

SO far, this is very doable. We'll have to work hard to stay in our routine once I return to work, but I really think we can do it.

Lydia's Birthday Party: Friends Edition

Lydia had the first of two birthday parties last Saturday. This party was full of friends; next Saturday, we will celebrate her birthday with family members. As is now our Minneapolis tradition, we reserved Michelangelo's Master Pizzas and let the kiddos loose while parents were able to snack and mingle. This year we added a new element to Lydia's birthday. In lieu of gifts for Lydia, her friends brought books to donate to a local charity via Milk and Bookies, an awesome non-profit that facilitates book donations to kids in need. We collected over twenty books, and Lydia will deliver them to our local Boys and Girls Club this week. Lydia had so much fun at her party, and so did we; singing "Happy Birthday" to our little girl has yet to stop bringing tears to my eyes, and it is so fun to set aside some time to celebrate all that is Lydia.

Goodie bags filled with bookmarks, balloons, and cookies.

Our book donation box.

Craft table for decorating book plates and a Fancy Nancy craft.

Lydia read about decorating butterfly placemats in Fancy Nancy: Tea Parties, so we decorated placemats at her party!

The kids could've crafted for the entire two hours, I think.

Listening (kind of) during story time with Fancy Nancy: Aspiring Artist, a gift from Lydia's godparents, Mikey and Mimi.

A cake per Lydia's request: chocolate with lavender icing and blackberries on top.

Listening to "Happy Birthday."

Holden slept nearly the entire time.
Guests, minus Marit, Avery, Sam, Elliott, and Harrison.

Mike and Britt, aka Mikey and Mimi, and Harrison made the trip from Chicago to celebrate Lydia's fourth!
Lydia and her friend Avery (who was not in the group picture.)
Sam took his spot under the table during the group pic, but I had to document his presence. :)

Holden: One Month

Holden is now one month old! We have settled into somewhat of a routine; his sleeping and eating patterns have become predictable (for the most part) and we are figuring each other out. Holden is such a sweet, sweet baby. He loves to be held and snuggled, and when he cries, he is easily pacified, often by nursing or rocking and walking. In true second child form, he has been out and about for much of the past month; he has been to the Children's Museum, the Edinborough Indoor Playground, lots of brunches and lunches, and both Mom and Dad's places of work on multiple occasions. I am currently wrapping up coursework for my K-12 Reading Specialist license, so if knowledge can be acquired through osmosis, Holden will be a literacy expert by toddlerhood. I have held him in my lap while doing much of my reading and homework and held him through my required reading intervention sessions with a ninth grade student.

Holden continues to be the apple of Lydia's eye, and while she has definitely struggled with decreased attention, she has never directed any resentment toward him. Instead, she will frequently interrupt what she is doing to run over to Holden and hug and kiss him.

Holden has survived his first cold and his first fall on the ice; he was in his carrier and quite cushioned--my rear took most of the hit. He continues to become more alert and is now giving us the sweetest little smiles that have yet to be caught on film. He has broken in his cloth diapers, and due to the extra bulk, is already starting to move out of his newborn clothes and into 0-3 month duds. He is a champion eater and for the third and fourth weeks of his first month, he gained ten ounces a week.

We are continuing to adjust to life as a family of four; while I knew that adding a second child to the mix would bring its own challenges, one never really knows what they are in for when it comes to babies and parenthood. While the past month has presented lots of opportunities for growth and learning, any frustration is quickly countered by our sweet little boy. Happy one month, Holden!


Friday, March 15, 2013


Four years ago today, I was laying in bed having just spent my second night home as a mother. Lydia had been awake crying for so much of the night because, as we later learned, my milk hadn't fully come in and she was hungry. My mom had taken her downstairs and rocked her so that Robin and I could get a bit of sleep and regroup.

Today, Lydia is at preschool, where yesterday, for show and tell, she read a book to her classmates--not just reciting the words but actually decoding them. I am rocking her one-month-old little brother and preparing to pick up her godparents (and Fousin Harrison) to celebrate at her birthday party tomorrow. It will be the first party where there will be more children than adults, because we realized that Lydia's birthday parties are now more about her than about us. Times have changed...

Lydia is such a little girl. She has a multitude of opinions, she negotiates, she sings songs, plays make-believe, gets herself snacks out of the refrigerator, and uses the bathroom alone in coffee shops (when I can see the entrance clearly of course.) On Monday, while at Caribou before her yoga class, she excitedly led me to the sofa and found a pillow so that I could nurse Holden because he was crying and opening his mouth, so she knew he was hungry. Her birthday gift was a "big girl bike" and she is so proud.

On the other hand, when we got home after yoga, she was told no and threw a remote at her brother and me, informed me that she didn't like me, and physically kicked me away when I went to kiss her goodnight. The next day at lunch, on her actual birthday, she uninvited me to birthday cupcakes. I drove home in tears, so hurt and frustrated with both her behavior and my lack of ability to give her the attention she needs.

The past month has been hard on Lyds and I. I have had hardly any one-on-one time with her, a drastic change from before when it was frequently just the two of us from the time I pick her up at four to the time Robin gets home between 6:30 and 7. Now I have both Lydia and Holden during those hours, and Holden has started his cluster feedings before bedtime. By the time Robin gets home, Holden wants to nurse round the clock, so I can't really hand him off to Robin and be with only Lydia.

On Tuesday afternoon, after she had told me she didn't want me to come share cupcakes with her, Lydia was clearly exhausted. I put her to bed for a nap, even though naptime had long passed. I tickled her face with the silk tag on the same blanket she has slept since she was old enough to sleep with a blanket. She yawned and snuggled and fell asleep. Maybe times haven't changed so much... our little girl was exhausted, she needed rest, and needed her mom. That's the thing about four. Depending on the day, she's the best (or most frustrating) of both worlds. She's going through so much change that, on some days, her growth and development is the most amazing thing to watch and, on others, it leads to situations that make me want to curl up in a ball and hide.

The rest of the night proved to be much smoother sailing. We enjoyed Lydia's chosen birthday dinner: pasta with peanut sauce and brussel sprouts followed by angel food cake. We watched Angelina Ballerina and went to bed. It was a different birthday for sure, but one that represents exactly where we are right now--in the midst of change, adjustment, and celebration, all at once. Happy birthday to my brave, strong girl. We love you, in all your four-year-old glory!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Weight Check

Due to our breastfeeding struggles, we brought Holden back to the pediatrician to check on his weight. We wanted to insure that he had hit his birth weight and find out that we had indeed established a decent breastmilk supply.

On Tuesday, Holden and I braved the snowy roads to pop him on the scale. I had 9 lbs. 13 ozs. in my head as a goal. This would be a 1 oz. a day gain since our previous Tuesday appointment, so imagine my surprise when I put him on the scale and 10 lbs., 1 oz popped up! Turns out the little stinker gained ELEVEN OUNCES over seven days. My milk supply is DEFINITELY established, though yesterday I paid for my premature celebration of the end of breastfeeding drama in the form of a very plugged right side. (Thanks to the Facebook Lactation Consultants aka fellow breastfeeding mom friends for their awesome advice on that one!) We are still not totally out of the woods with breastfeeding issues; I've got some latch issues to straighten out at our Lactation Consultant appointment tomorrow, but things are much better and, at the very least, Holden is getting lots of milk, is sleeping well, gaining weight, and seems generally content.

Hipster Holden

I thought turning thirty(-one. Okay, thirty-one.) and having children erased any risk of hipster-dom, but apparently, I was misled.

I love, love, love the name Holden for several reasons. I like it aesthetically, and I love the homage to The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger's moody, grumpy, protagonist, in my opinion, was a catalyst for the kind of coming-of-age books that play such a huge role in my job as a champion of teen literacy and reading enthusiasm. Holden Caulfield, for some, was a misfit character that let real-life teen misfits feel as if they weren't alone. Our Holden's name receives two main reactions: about half the people who have met him say, "Holden... that's unique. Where did you get it?" and the other half say, "Great name. Catcher in the Rye?" While I cringe a little when I think of our Holden eventually reading  the book and feeling a little weirded out when coming across Holden Caulfield's dicier moments, hopefully he'll embrace the importance of Salinger's work and understand its significance to me.

Anyway, back to my original thought. It has been brought to my attention that, when checking name popularity charts--with both children, we have made sure to choose names that were not in the top 100, popularity wise, though "Lydia" has since broken through. (What can I say? She's a trail-blazer.) "Holden" was nowhere close. Except for this article on "Top 24 Hipster Baby Names":

And this advice column on "How to Avoid Giving Your Baby a Hipster Name": (See #3.)

And then, to top things off, we caught Holden like this: 

He's already rocking the faux-hawk? Let's just call him Hipster Holden.

Inventive Spelling

This morning, Lydia asked us to write some things down for her. In an effort to encourage her literacy (and because honestly, when Robin needs to be out the door in ten minutes, Holden's eating, and Lydia still needs her hair brushed, sitting down to write together wasn't so much an option), we said that she should try writing on her own and then could tell us what it said. She protested initially, but eventually sat down to write. She came up with this: 
When asked what it said, she said it was, in order from top to bottom, the words to "Away in a Manger," "Some Nights" (by Fun.), and "Call Me Maybe."  She then used her writing to stand on the table and perform each song. (Yes, my almost-four-year-old knows the words to "Some Nights" and "Call Me Maybe." If you have never heard a preschooler sing pop music, you are seriously missing out.) On the learning side of things, this was the first time Lydia has used letters to make words. In the past, she has used scribbles and dashes. I love that Lydia is in this new stage of print awareness!

Our Village: A Thank You

Today, Holden is three weeks old! The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of cuddles, nursing ups and downs, and visits, visits, visits! It has been so exciting (and even a little overwhelming) to give birth in my hometown and so close to Robin's. Over the past three weeks, we have enjoyed visits from so many wonderful people, devoured dinners and delicious lunches provided by friends, family, and coworkers, and generally felt loved. I have benefited from Facebook's unofficial lactation consulting services and would like to extend a serious "Thank you" to everyone who has provided support to us in the form of food, visits, errands, sharing knowledge and advice, taking Lydia out for a playdate, and just general love and enthusiasm for our little guy. Second time around is funny; on one hand, we are so much more confident in our parenting abilities. We are not constantly worried that we'll break Holden when moving him, and we know that babies are pretty resilient. On the other, a new child presents new challenges that are different from round one--in Holden's case, mainly nursing issues--as well as the new balancing act of caring for an infant while parenting Lydia. We will continue to rely on our village and are so grateful for all of you!