Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mystery Fevers and Paranormal Fun

Last week, as you might have guessed by my lack of blog posts, was a bit hectic and a little strange.  Wednesday, I took Kira to get her flu shot booster.  She felt a little warm to me but didn't seem sick.  I asked the nurse, who took Kira's temperature, and found out she was running a 101 degree fever.  The nurse's concern worried me, so it was a difficult wait until they could get her in to the doctor later that day.  The cause?  Maybe a virus or roseola.  Now it is Sunday, and the fever is gone.  She never had any signs of actual sickness, so who knows what it was.

Then Wednesday night, just as I had started to relax in bed, I felt a nudge in the small of my back.  My back was to the wall, so it couldn't have been my husband moving around.  I turned around, but I didn't see any sign of a ghost or other mysterious entity.  No fog, creepy music, or strange voice muttering threats.  Honestly, it felt just like someone trying gently to get my attention.  I have no idea what it was, but I am 100% positive that I did not imagine it.  I wasn't anywhere near sleep, and it wasn't a subtle touch that could've been the blanket moving or something.  The experience was both freaky and cool at the same time.

Did you have an interesting week?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baby Bathing Woes

I always thought that babies loved baths.  Oh, sure, there is generally an adjustment period.  Newborns are confused enough as it is and are generally not thrilled the first couple of times you put them in a bath tub.  But soon, they are soothed by the water until it becomes an essential part of calming down for bed.

Not my baby.

From the very first attempt until just yesterday, she has always screamed her head off at every bath.  First, she was in the newborn sling on her baby tub, then in the baby tub itself.  I put the tub in the kitchen sink, and I put it in the big bath tub.  Screaming.  Next, I ran a little bit of water in the big tub and tried her in there.  I've tried colorful character sponges, singing, making funny noises, and bubble bath.  Nothing works.

Yesterday was my first attempt with the bubble bath.  Now that she is a good sitter, I thought she might like to sit in the tub and play with the bubbles.  No such luck.  She cried and kept looking at me with this expression of misery bordering on betrayal.  "Why, Mommy?  Why do you do this to me?"  I really dread bath time.

The only other thing I can think of is bathing with her, but I don't know when I'll be able to do that.  My pelvis is still out of alignment from the birth, so getting in and out of our little tub in our cramped bathroom with a baby seems like a painful and dangerous proposition.  I'm completely out of ideas at this point.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kira Picks a Car Seat

Last weekend, we went shopping for a convertible car seat for Kira.  I was much more prepared this time.  When I picked her travel system before she was born, I had no clue what to look for.  They were all pretty much the same, right?  Wrong!  For the love of all that is holy, don't pick Cosco.  Trying to push that stroller was like escorting a drunk home.  As soon as she could hold her head up, we abandoned the stroller portion for the Combi Cosmo EX Stroller in Wasabi Noche and just transferred her to the stroller at need.  And now, we have finally replaced the loathsome, hard-to-buckle car seat.

I did a lot of research online.  Based on reviews I read on and, I decided to go to our local Babies-R-Us and take a look at two different models.  We ended up looking at a third while we were there, as well.  We tried:
   Review-wise, Britax slightly edged out Evenflo (and Safety 1st, I discovered later).  Since the Britax is regularly $279.00, I thought it was worth checking out the competition.  Both had good safety reviews.

The Britax and Evenflo were next to each other in the store, making comparison easy.  My husband preferred the Evenflo right away.  He said that it seemed to have more padding and that it looked more comfortable.  Undecided, we put Kira in the Britax.  It was easy to adjust once I figured out how, and she sat there looking around happily.  Then we switched her to the Evenflo.  Almost immediately, she started to fidget.  By the time we got everything adjusted, she was making angry noises.  Kira voted no.  When we tried the Safety 1st seat a little farther down, her reaction was worse.  Though it was clearly designed to start out rear-facing, she didn't seem to fit well in the seat.  So we moved her back to the Britax to make sure she wasn't just irritated in general and--happy baby. 

Cost-wise, the Britax would be closer to $209 with Babies-R-Us' 25% trade-in deal (bring an old item for 25% off a new one), but come to find out, Amazon had this Britax model for sale for $209 without having to trade anything in.  With the Amazon Prime membership I still had from when I signed up for Amazon Mom, I got free, 2-day shipping.  I decided to order from Amazon.

The car seat arrived yesterday, and it was easy to install (provided you can read directions).  Most importantly, Kira still seems happy with her choice:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sippy Cup Win

At her 6 month appointment, Kira's doctor told me that I should start trying her on a sippy cup with a goal of being off bottles by one year old.  This sounded like an excellent plan.  The only problem--Kira wanted no part of the process.

I first tried the Tommee Tippee First Sips Weaning Cup - 4m+ - 5 Oz. (Pink) (except mine was a hard spout design that I can't find to show you).  I thought Kira would transition well to this kind because she loves her Tommee Tippee bottles, but all she did was make a disgusted face and look at me like I was crazy.  I thought that maybe it was the hard spout and started to look for another type.

Since they didn't have the cup linked above at my local Babies R Us, I next bought the Dr. Brown's Soft Spout Training Cup, 6 Ounce.  Yet another fail, my friends.  I even tried taking out the part that makes the cup spill-proof to see if better flow would help.  But as soon as she felt the odd shape, her face screwed up in that annoyed look and more juice was wasted.

I tried both cups multiple times over the last month, hoping she would eventually adjust, but Kira refused to take either one.  Last week, Mom and I were wandering around Walmart and came across the Playtex Baby The First Lil' Gripper Twist 'n Click Straw Cup 7 OZ - girl colors.  I was doubtful, but Mom was willing to buy it for Kira to see if she would take a cup with a straw.  I tried it today, and it actually worked!

It took her a few tries, and I still have to steady the cup for her.  Despite that, she managed to drink two ounces.  Obviously, I can't do away with bottles any time soon, but that's two ounces more than she's ever drank out of a cup.  I am cautiously optimistic.

If there are any other moms out there struggling with the sippy cup transition, I highly recommend this type of cup.  I'm hoping that once she learns that milk can come from something besides a bottle she will start to take other kinds as well.  Keep your fingers crossed! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

There's a Mod for That

It has been a while since I posted anything about video games, largely because I have had less time to play lately and because I tend to shuffle between hobbies.  Last week, my Mom bought me The Sims 3 Outdoor Living Stuff (thanks, Mom!), which got me interested in playing The Sims 3 again.  As far as the stuff pack goes, I am happy with it overall.  There aren't a huge amount of new items, but I liked what was there.  I think this is pointing towards a Seasons Expansion pack.  I guess we'll see.

However, a recurring problem in my town, one which EA has not even acknowledged as far as I know, has been the lack of people in the bars and clubs that were added in The Sims 3 Late Night.  I send my sim to a Hot Spot, only to find two elderly people there.  Maybe.  Rockin' nightlife!  ;-)  Actually, when I first got the game, this wasn't a problem.  But as soon as the first generation of EA-created characters died off, the computer only seemed to generate more elderly people via their Story Progression system.  No children, teens, adults.  My family is a vampire family, so I had been waiting to see how the generations of human sims would change around them.  All that was lacking?  Actual generations.  :-/

I'd read a lot about mods in the official forums but had been hesitant to try one.  I finally got fed up enough to download one (which turned into several).  I picked Master Controller, Overwatch, Story Progression, and TheWoohooer from the excellent mods created by Twallan.  The range of settings you can alter using these mods is amazing, and I can't even begin to list them all here.  I must say that I have been particularly impressed with Twallan's Story Progression.  As soon as I started to play, I got pop-ups about new sims moving to town, getting jobs, getting married, having children.  I sent my sim to a bar, and there were 6 sims there--only one was elderly.  My game experience has improved 100%.

It seems to me that computer games need these types of mods more and more.  Back when I still had time for MMO's, I noticed that it was pretty common for more experienced players to import modded user interfaces that often offered better control.  I used them in DAOC and Everquest 2 and found those mods to be superior as well.  What is up with this?  Why do I need to rely on a third party to make my game a good experience?  Gaming companies like EA need to watch out.  They can only let these kinds of quality issues go on for so long before they lose customers.

In the meantime, there's a mod for that.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Weight Loss Fail

Last week I decided to start Weight Watchers.  Again.  I guess this is the third or fourth try now.  To be fair, the first try was very successful.  I lost over 75 pounds.  So what happened?  I couldn't be happy with what I'd lost.  I wanted to lose 10 more pounds despite how content my body obviously was at 145.  I pushed so hard that my body and mind went on revolt, and predictably, I gained it all back.  Subsequent attempts have been even more dismal.

To complicate the issue, I could eat as much as I wanted when I was pregnant.  I only gained 7 pounds that wasn't baby weight, and I could fit back in my old clothes within a week of having her (before you feel too envious, I was still plus-sized).  I also didn't have to worry about it while I was (attempting) breastfeeding.  That's almost an entire year without counting, weighing, or stressing about food.

Now, it feels almost impossible to get back on track; this attempt lasted less than a week.  I've found that I just hate counting points.  It makes me feel like some kind of food criminal, like I'm on probation.  I feel set apart from everyone else, those happy people who go about their lives eating what they want without having to write it down.  I'm not talking about a lack of control or overeating.  I'm talking about the simple freedom of not having to stress over every bite.

I have to do something, though.  I can't stand being like this.  Though I would like to be able to buy the clothes I like, it really isn't about vanity.  I want to run, to go on a hike, have energy.  I need to be a good example for my daughter.  The problem is, I don't know how to get there.

What works for you?  I could really use some tips, here. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Adventures in Baby Feeding

Feeding a baby solid food is not always as easy as you might think.  I must admit that when I was pregnant, I didn't put much thought into it.  When she was ready, I would give Kira cereal.  I had vague plans to make her baby food.  Someday, somehow, she would eat table food.

While the making of baby food has turned out to be pretty easy, I find myself stumbling over when, what, and how much to feed her.  The doctor gave me a chart and said to feed her less milk when I started the food.  But how much less milk do you give for the tablespoon of vegetables recommended by the chart?  And how much solid food do you really give in the first place?  It takes a great deal of experimentation to figure out these things.  You can't always trust the advice "feed the baby until she looks away or loses interest" if you have a baby like mine, either.  She'll take a couple of spoonfuls and then--oh look, there's the cat!  Hey, what's that over there?  Assume she is done and wipe her face, and the Wrath of Baby descends upon your head.  Kicking, mouth smacking, and crying that can only be translated as "NOOOOO Mommy, I'm a starving baby!  Staaaarrrrving...." commence.  So you feed the baby another spoonful and then--is that the dog??  The dog is cool, Mommy.  Repeat face wiping and baby wrath.

Now that Kira is almost seven months and teething, it is time to start giving her a little bit of regular food.  I'm terrified to give her something that will make her choke or cause an allergic reaction.  Is there too much salt, sugar, or fat?  If I give her little (or larger) pieces of fruit to chew, will she choke?  What if a biscuit contains egg?  She's not supposed to have that yet because it's a possible allergen, right?  GAHHHHHH!!!      

I have come to the inevitable conclusion that I have no idea what to do next.  Pureed foods are pretty easy, once you figure out what age she can start what.  I am simply clueless about the transition between pureed and table food.  And those motherly instincts I should be listening to--well, they aren't saying a great deal on the issue.  You see, I'm terrified that I'm going to make a mistake.  Aside from choking and allergies, there's the ever present fear that if I feed her the wrong way, I'll contribute to her being overweight someday.  It is a great deal of responsibility.  I'm beginning to think that all I can do is muddle through the best I can.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The One Person Village

Being a stay at home mother is a lonely and sometimes grueling job.  It probably doesn't seem like it would be to someone who has never done it.  After all, such moms are at home all day.  What could there possibly be to do in all that time?  Housework and childcare surely don't take that long.  But you see, it isn't just the work itself.  It is the constant monotony and glaring isolation.  It is being on call at all times.  When you have an infant, it is trying to calm someone who can't tell you what is wrong for hours on end.

Don't get me wrong.  I love being with my daughter, and I do take time for myself sometimes.  But days of getting things done in brief snatches and seeing no one but my husband and baby start to drag at my psyche.  It builds and builds until suddenly I feel defeated.  All I can do is go through the motions and hope it gets better soon.

I've heard that it takes a village to raise a child.  The thing is, we don't live in villages around here.  I barely know my neighbors.  Most of my family live over an hour away, and my husband's family is even farther.  I have friends, but they live twenty minutes or more from here and have their own challenges.  I feel like a one-person village.  My husband tries to give me some relief, but there is only so much he can do.  I haven't been away from my daughter for even an hour since November.

Before the advent of the single-family household norm, new mothers would have other relatives around to help.  Mom, Grandmother, Aunts, Sisters--a network of women who shared all of the household tasks.  Oh, I'm sure there were disadvantages, like a lack of privacy and personality conflicts, but at least there were people to help lift the burden of sometimes-overwhelming responsibility.  Now, we must learn to forge our own support networks.  We need to find the mothers who, like me, are sitting at home feeling lost.  And don't forget working mothers!  Their challenges are different in ways but no less daunting.  We need other women around us no matter how their journey of motherhood may differ.  We need a network tied together by our shared struggle rather than by blood.

In modern life, we have to build a new type of village.  Let's start now!