Monday, October 29, 2012

Daylight Savings Nightmares

A few days ago in the wee hours of the early morning around 5:30am, I was breastfeeding my early riser, anxious for him to finish his first morning feed and hoping that he would go back for a nap. In my sleepy mind the thought occured to me that it would soon be daylight savings time. In the fall the time goes back, giving us an extra hour of sleep. I was excited for this prospect, knowing that I was missing out on some sleep every night and an extra hour would be a welcome event. Then I remembered. Uh oh..I have a baby.

My son is likely too small to notice such a subtle difference in the clock that we follow. He follows his own clock, regardless of the numbers that may sit in front of him.  Granted, he has gotten himself on a schedule lately. I know around what time he wakes, naps and needs to eat. This has taken several months for him to establish and now that it is settling in I am starting to relax and am able to plan a little more around his habits.  Moving things around an hour will unfortunately shake all of this up - more for me than him.

What do I mean? Well right now he generally wakes up sometime between 5 and 5:30 am. If I am careful, he just needs a feeding and with the right movements, I can get him to go back to sleep for another hour or two. Sometimes however,  I am not so lucky and I cannot get him back to sleep - he is ready to play and get up for the day. The 5 am time is just too early for this momma to get up! It's particularily hard when he has already been up once before for some soothing just a few short hours ago.  My point - once daylight savings hits these 5 am times will now be 4 am. Yikes. Now that's way too early for momma.

I know that everything else will be off schedule to, but I think I can handle having him change his naps and I can try to get him back on our meal times by feeding him a little earlier than before. I guess that means he will also go to bed earlier in the evening? I am mostly worried about the super early morning potential and how I will be able to handle it. Funny - I never even considered this before.

I will have to see what happens this coming weekend as the clocks fall back. I will update with how things go for my little guy, and for his potentially tired momma!

Momma'a Musts :

  • Sleep while you can!
  • Never take any schedule with a baby for granted - something is bound to shake it all up soon enough!
  • Prepare for the worst case scenario - and hope for the best!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stroller Etiquette

Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @hollymommablog

Those of us who have our license to stroller sometimes encounter obstacles. Before I gave birth, I had heard about and imagined some of the issues, but I had not realized how it would actually be, as was the case with most things baby related. This post will take a look at some of the issues that I have encountered while operating a stroller.

For starters, I happened to purchase a rather large four wheeled travel system. It is a sturdy stroller with plenty of room for storage, complete with cup holders and an umbrella like structure to close baby up in harsh weather.  While those things are certainly assets,  if I were doing it again I would purchase something much smaller, and I would opt for a three wheeled version. Several of my mommy friends have this type and I have noticed that they are much easier to maneuver and they can spin around on a dime, unlike my buggy which requires a three point turn in order to do a 180.  As I have discovered, there are numerous obstacles that make driving this stroller a little difficult at times.

We'll start simple. Doorways and doors in general. Some are very narrow and require precise positioning for just about any stroller to get through. Not to mention the task of  simply getting them open. I am thankful for ones that offer an automatic motion sensor or a push button that allow them to pop open for just enough time for you to slip through. There are others that are not so easy to go through and while I have had some really nice people turn back or run ahead and hold the doors for me when I am coming from a distance, some don't even see me and I have to figure out a way to squeeze in.

Second - walkways - or lack there of. Some man made ones (sidewalk) are bumpy with rivets that cause wheels to stick, and others more natural (shoulder) are so narrow that its risky to drive on as you may veer off the road,  possibly ending up in a ditch with one false move. In some public places access to walkways is limited often to only one or two lowered spots. I have several times spotted cars parked across said access points, making it impossible to get the stroller up on the concrete around their tires. Not everywhere and not all the time - but it has happened.

Another point of interest - space. You wouldn't believe how many aisles in stores are NOT conducive to strollers. The shelves are too close together, the products stick out and as a result the wheels catch, things fall and occasionally break - and its embarrasing.  Unfortunately reality is simply that some businesses have limited space, which sometimes limits where we can wheel our strollers.

Another mobility issue - sometimes elevators are limited in location, function and availablitly. There may only be one elevator in a building for example - and it may be a far distance from an entrance or may have a tendency to get stuck. Unfortunately we just don't have the option to take the stairs when we choose to bring our strollers.

My final point of concern is the mommy and baby parking spaces. I often wonder how diligent every-day people are about using them honestly. A while ago while wheeling my son across a parking lot, a large truck cut us off, zipped into a mommy space diagonally taking up that space and the better part of the handicapped space next to it. When the driver got out he was clearly alone, he had no baby with him and I'm pretty sure he wasn't pregnant. It did not make me feel good. I know he is just one person, but it made me wonder.

Don't get me wrong, most of the time I am perfectly happy using my stroller and I hate to be a negative momma. But sometimes certain things bug me. I know that part of being a mom and having a baby is that certain things are not as easy or even possible like they once were. It's just that some of the things that I mentioned above simply don't seem fair.  As an alternative for close quarters I do have a Snuggly (a back-pack like carrier) which I use occasionally. This is a great hands free way to carry baby, but it can cause back pain if you keep it on too long. However, it is a friendly alternative for certain places and/or events for short periods.

My last thought on this subject is all of these issues are ours for the time only while our children are babies - for people who use wheelchairs it is a daily concern. Now that's really unfair.

Momma's Musts
  • Be prepared. If you are going somewhere new on a time limit,  scope out the stroller friendly entrance and arrive early so you can get ample parking. It will save you a lot of potential stress.
  • Be courteous. If someone goes out of their way to help you, ensure that they are aware of how much you appreciate it. On the flip side, pay attention around you and help someone out who may need it when you can.
  • Be patient. It's highly unlikely that someone would intentionally not hold a door for you. The world is not out to get you!
  • Be happy! No matter the obstacles you may face, don't let it stop you from going out with your baby. Try an alternative carrying method when it appears to be the better option. Make sure you enjoy yourself when you are out, and don't let the hiccups dictate your mood!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Reel Babies - Let's go to the Movies!

Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @hollymommablog

Did you know that you can take your baby to the movies? Well its true. At select Empire Theatre locations they offer a periodical movie event specially designed for mommy (and daddy!) and baby. I was surprised how many of my mommy friends had never heard of this so I think it warrants a post.

Every other Wednesday in St. John's there is a Reel Babies movie at 11am.  The price is $10 and yes, the concession stands are open. It's a great concept - pull up in your stroller and buy your ticket from the automated terminals, guest services or the concession stand. Park your stroller outside the selected theatre in the stroller lot (just like in the picture above!) and proceed to the theatre. Take your baby in his/her carrier and they can have their own seat. Inside you will find two change tables, a bottle warming station, a playpen and if you are lucky enough to get there early - a row filled with exer-saucers, swings, some vibrating chairs and even a rocking chair. The lights are kept on, the sound is a little lower and don't worry if baby cries! Feed, play, pace - whatever you need to do with baby.  Come with a mommy friend or go alone with just you and baby - lots of mommys do! Bring a non-mommy friend either if they can handle the crying! Fill out a ballot at the outside tables before you come in for a chance to win a great prize for baby.

A great feature is that you can have your say in what movie is shown. Sign up on Empire Theatres website, click on Programs and select Reel Babies. Two Fridays before the movie you will recieve an email indicating which movies are available to vote on for the next upcoming movie. The next Reel Babies movie is coming up in two weeks time - November 7th, 2012, and voting opens this coming Friday, October 26th, 2012. Other theatres in Canada offer the same -check out a theatre near you.

I would highly recommend this outing for any mommy or daddy that has an infant.  Myself and my son love it - it's such a treat. It's a great way to get out with baby and do something fun for you that's pressure free and baby friendly. You can tend to baby's needs and still see the movie and if your baby cries, don't worry - you are not alone!

Momma's Musts

  • Sign up. Get yourself a membership and vote!
  • Go! Get yourself in gear and make it to the next Reel Babies showing - you'll have a great time :) 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rainy Day Contemplations

Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @hollymommablog

One of those cold to the bone rainy days. The wind is blowing, the leaves are zipping by, the rain is pelting hard and cold and of course - wet. The house is feeling the effects, groaning under the wind.

It's that kind of day that you are glad to be home. A day when hot coffee, a burning fire (even from a fake fireplace) and a warm sweater are all that you need. Oh yes, most important of all - a little baby for cuddle time.

Before I had my son I remember experiencing days like this and imagining the future. I pictured myself and my future children hanging out in our pajamas, watching movies, baking cookies, just feeling cozy. I realize today that I am well on my way to living that dream fully. Granted my little boy is too small to even help stir the batter or have the attention span to watch a full movie with mommy, but we still can have a great day tucked away in our comfy house. I am a big advocate for getting out and about with baby, but sometimes it's just as important to stay home. It's days like this I am so glad that I became a mom!

Momma's Musts
  • Stay dry. When the weather is beating down outside, snuggle up with your little one and put your feet up (as much as you can!)
  • Plan ahead. There are lots of fun activities that you can do at home that you probably "never get around to" because of busy schedules and nice days. Have an idea of what you would like to do for the next day you stay home and follow through! It'll be a great day!
  • Savor it. Mommy moments are fun and always passing us by. Soak them up!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Feedback Time - Teeth!

Looking for some feedback today - turning the tables. When did your child get his/her first tooth? How did the process treat you?  Did you discover any tricks to help the pain? Would love to hear your thoughts! Post here or on Holly Momma Blog on Facebook. Looking forward to hearing your stories!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Parent's Web

Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @hollymommablog

During the summer, a spider built a web outside my bedroom window.  I am not normally a fan of spiders. While I'm not really afraid of them, I usually get rid of them when I see them. This particular spider built her home out of my reach but in plain sight, and to my surprise I have really enjoyed watching her since she decided to move in. I have realized that a lot of what she does is in some ways a unique metaphor for being a parent.

A spider's web is a very delicate force of nature. Most of the time we see them from a distance and we don't really pay attention. However, if we take the time to look closely we see the great amount of work and attention to detail it took Ms. Spider to create such a functional and efficient home. Just like parents. Parents are everywhere, many times off in a distance and not being a major concern to passers by - but if you look carefully will see just how much passion they have for their families and how everything all seems to run so effortlessly. Up close it becomes clear that it takes a lot of effective planning and behind the scenes to appear this way.

My spider friend lost her home so many times over the summer that I stopped counting. Daily weather events such as wind and rain - or what was the horror of Hurricane Leslie demolished all her hard work again and again. It never ceased to amaze me that after seeing her hanging on in the ruins of her home on a single thread (literally) the very next day she had rebuilt everything without flinching. I thought - she is one of the most resilent creatures I have ever seen! Then I got to thinking- so are parents. No matter what happens or however horrible it may seem - we have to be there for our kids. We have to pick up the pieces, rebuild and move forward no matter how dire it may seem, and we usually have to do it quickly. The thing is - never before in my life have I been so willing to move on after things go awry - having a baby has certainly put that in perspective. He needs me, end of story,  and I had better be there - no matter the weather.

Sometimes I am lucky enough to see my little spider friend catching an unsuspecting fly or bug for some much needed lunch. She does it in such a skilled way - it is facinating to watch. Other times I see her unmoving for long periods and can't help but wonder if she is dead - but she has fooled me - she is only snoozing. Hours later I see her crawling again, scurrying around, further perfecting her home. Just like a parent, scurrying around quietly in the just when you thought they had nothing left.  Parent's lives have a certain simplicity on the surface, but in their own way are facinating to watch.

 Ms. Spider has stirred my thinking on a greater level than I ever could have anticipated, and I am so glad she decided to build her web outside my window out of my reach. Any other time I would have probably destroyed her without a second thought and I have so enjoyed watching her. It is an astonishing phenomenon and I look forward to watching her for as long as she shares an address with me.

Momma's Musts

  • Pay attention! There is plenty of amazement right around you that can inspire some great thinking and help you to appreciate your life in new ways.
  • You are something great! Being a parent is no small feat and it may look easy at a distance but up close it is a very delicate operation.
Thanks to St. John's Mom for her post about me here. Follow her for lots of valuable info and events for parents in St.John's and area!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Family Outings

Since my son was born it made me really want to get out there and be a family with him and my husband at public events. I'm not sure what it is, but suddenly I felt the door was open to so many outing possibilities - things that have been around long before I ever became a mom that I never considered. Before baby I had never bothered to find out about these things and had little interest in going. The interesting part is that a lot of the events that are now so much more fun are really not for baby at all.

A number of reasons I feel that lead that may have led to this new interest :
  1. More time to search the web to discover possible outings
  2. A greater urge to "be a family" and get out and do things together
  3. A feeling of security to step out of my comfort zone and attend events that I otherwise would be hesitant about - the baby was a great reason to do these things.
  4. An urge to get out and show off my new addition
  5. To increase my social life in any way possible since it has now changed dramatically because of baby.
It's interesting that now I suddenly want to go simply because of my son. He is still too small to really recognize or appreciate where he is when we go to new places - but I do believe he is aware at least that he is somewhere he hasn't been before. I like the idea of showing him different things that we do not have at home and peaking his curiousity to experience new things.

I have discovered that there are plenty of things to do in the city and surrounding areas and all you have to do is look for them. We've had great days visiting museums, flea markets, parks, and just going to different places to take walks. I am also excited to realize how much I look forward to going to these places and how much I enjoy myself when I get there. Even on days when we've had a rough night and we are very tired in the morning we still have more fun than we would if we stayed home. I can't wait to find other events, and for my son to appreciate them more as he gets older.  

Momma's Musts

  • Explore. There are plenty of hidden events and activities happening in your area that you never imagined. Just ask around, do an internet search or subscribe to local websites/blogs to keep you updated.
  • Just go! Don't hesitate or allow insecurities from your typical day get in the way. You'll all enjoy it if you just get out and go!
  • List. Think of all the reasons why you would like to go to a new place and then list the things you would like to do - and then just go!
  • Have fun! These events are great for your family to experience new things and enjoy each other.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tummy Time

Ah yes, tummy time.  A necessity for babies of today because they go "back to sleep." Tummy time is the exercise a baby needs to strengthen their neck, arm and shoulder muscles and to prevent the scary condition known as flathead. Tummy time was not an easy thing to master for me or for my baby.

When the baby was first born, we were told to place him on his stomach for a few minutes a day and work up to an hour and a half a day by the time he was a month old. We started with the few minutes in the beginning and right from the get-go it was clear that he hated it. He screamed almost instantly and seemed angry and in pain as he kicked and struggled to move around while in this new uncomfortable position. I swore I would get him to like it but I got lazy.

After a trying summer due to some unexpected health problems (me) resulting in the inability to lift him, I had to have someone with me while I recovered. During that time we didn't give him much tummy time. I couldn't listen to him wailing while a family member was with me to help and I kept saying that "we'll do it tomorrow" and of course I never did. He spend an awful lot of time on his back during this time period too. So no surprise at his 4 month needles the nurse was wary of the beginnings of flat head. His shoulder and neck muscles were weaker than they should be for a child his age, plus he had a large head and would need a lot of practice to get good at holding it up. I wasn't shocked but it did give me a good scare. Oh dear, now how to train my four month old to spend a lot more time on his belly. Yikes.

So I dug my heels in and started that very day. I began by putting him down for 10 minute intervals during every hour he was awake. Over the next few days I increased these intervals up to 15, 20, and finally 30 minutes. Once he started staying down for 30 minutes I wouldn't pick him up until he started crying after that point. To keep my sanity I got down with him and shook rattles, played musical toys, squeaked Sophie, and turned on the Hot Dog Dance from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as many times as I needed to in order to distract him from the discomfort and keep him from screaming. When it got to the point that none of these things worked I would busy myself close by him to avoid giving in to picking him up because he was crying so hard. It was rough on both of us.

 After about four days there was some improvement in his endurance and after two weeks we really started to see the change. Now more than a month later he is loving his time and is rolling over plenty from tummy to back much more often than before. He lasts much longer when down there, has a stronger head and can hold his shoulders up higher. He has started to make the crawling motions and is now attempting to roll from back to belly. I feel so much better too.  I thought the crying was going to break my heart but we managed to get through it. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do with him thus far, and making myself stick to his endurance schedule was something I really had to push myself to do - but it was all worth it!

Momma's Musts
  • Put the baby on his/her belly! Plain and simple, put them down for short periods and repeat a couple times a day and increase intervals and duration over time.
  • Play with baby. To keep the tears at bay, try whatever you can think of to occupy. Music, squeaks, rattles, dance even if that's what works.
  • Keep busy. If you have tried everything and nothing works to settle the tears, to help resist the urge to take the little one out of their misery find something to do to occupy yourself during the time.
  • Follow through. Don't give up when it's rough. It will get worse before it gets better but when it does get better you will feel accomplished! You will be so proud of your child for doing it! Not to mention the benefits to his or her growth and development :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mommy Time

One of the hardest things that I have discovered about being a mom is the fact that your time is no longer your own.  Everyone tells you this before the baby is born but you really cannot imagine what it's like until you live it. It is no longer up to me when I do things, or even what I do. With a baby, they need to eat when they are hungry, to be changed when they are wet and if they are fussy, forget it, you are tied up until baby says so.

My child is a good baby, crying only when he is hungry, gassy, or fussy and he isn't gassy often. He rarely fusses without good reason so I know I am lucky. That being said, there are times when I wish with every fiber in my being that he would let me decide when and what we do. For example there are days when I get overcome with the urge to have a nap. Those days I silently wish for him not only to go down for a nap, but to go for a long one. My begging is usually in vain. It seems the more I need to rest the less likely that I will get to. I have dragged my half dozed self off the couch countless times since he was born when his cries stir me - just ten short minutes after he went down. Amazingly as hard as it is to haul myself up, I do it with more enthusiasm than I ever have for anyone else in my life.

A hard thing is when I would like to have lunch, or have a shower, or blow dry my hair. These things I took for granted now need planning and often have to be put on hold - all must happen around his time. Sometimes I am very anxious and impatient as he feeds or we pace around with him bouncing him up and down, sometimes with my hair drying amidst the humidity in a mess. The funny part is, I resign myself that it is him first no matter how much I want to do something for myself. I have that attitude for no one else in my life.
Even as I type this he is constantly interrupting me..haha

All that being said it is hard sometimes. I do get frustrated, and then I feel guilty for wanting him to do something else or for wishing for just a few minutes to myself. I know it's all part of it and I am a firm believer in the importance of mommy time. To make up for all those times when he is in control, I take nights off where I leave the house and do something for myself. I grab a coffee, shop, go to the library, or go out with a friend. Those times I call the shots and have a chance to recharge. I have no contact with home unless its absolutely necessary and I find that by the time I am ready to come home I am eager to see my little guy again.

Momma matters too and it is important not to let guilt cause you to lose sight of that!

Momma's Musts
  • It's a baby's world. Forget following your usual schedule. Throw out your need to shower first or blow dry immediately. It's not up to you!
  • Prioritize. When you do get those free moments, do the most important thing first. Eat if you are starving - resist the urge to load the dishwasher first. You may only have time for one thing and you had better not be left hungry.
  • Get out! Plan a "me" night and do something that you love. Bring your cell but make a deal with your partner to leave it to emergencies only and "forget" about home for awhile. It will help you relax and appreciate what you have. Do this often!
  • Forgive yourself. It's okay to be selfish sometimes and even be frustrated at your circumstances. I tell myself it isn't the baby's intent to soak up all my time, that it isn't always going to be easy, and it's okay to want something for yourself every now and again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gritting my teeth

My little boy is half way through his fifth month and has been teething for a couple of months now. There are no teeth yet though! A little peek into the frustrations of teething that we have experienced.

First comes the drooling. It was subtle at first, just a mouth full of saliva, but now the top of his shirts get soaked quickly if he is sitting down and this leads to rashes and skin irritations on his neck.  Then we are dealing with the pain. He likes to chew just about anything for relief - my fingers, Sophie the giraffe, a frozen teether, any of his toys, his hands and cold nummys. Lately he has gotten a better grip on these items and can hold them to his mouth without help so that's a plus.

I was one of those mommys that didn't want to give my baby a pacifier.....ever. When he began teething I decided to try it to see if it would help. It did and thankfully still does. So I do not regret going against my initial thoughts, and he is not addicted to the little nummy.  When he wakes in the middle of the night we use an ice cold nummy and a little bit of benadryl on his gums to soothe the pain and its working - he goes back to sleep!  This took much trial and error as I was feeding him first not knowing what else to do. I am so happy that we discovered an alternate solution.  

I find myself constantly checking his gums for hints of the whites of the teeth poking through the gums but so far nothing is coming out. It's all apart of growing I know...but it can be a real toothache...

Momma's Musts
  • Bibs. Plain and simple - to catch drool and keep him dry - have your baby wear a bib while teething.
  • Think cold. Babies like cold things - store spare nummies, teethers and toys in the freezer so they are always ready to go. Sterilize them in a small mesh bag in the top rack of the dishwasher when they get dirty!
  • Experiment. Find your tonic for your baby. For us it was Benadryl and a cold nummy for emergencies and if it seems absolutely horrible, some Tylenol helps too. Don't use Orajel products, not Dentist recommended as it may cause some numbing in the baby's throat.
  • Patience. It is a process and it will last awhile but it will be worth it for the excitement of seeing the first white caps poke through!
Here's an update : Tell me the Tooth!

Saturday, October 06, 2012


When I started this blog I thought it would be fairly easy to maintain. I thought a post at least every other day or at the very least once a week would be simple. Throw in an infant and add the fact that he's changing his schedule and try to maintain anything. Not easy.

Recently, well about three weeks now, my son has been waking in the middle of the night. My wonderful sleeper since 9 weeks old has started waking once, sometimes twice at night. He is sleeping more restlessly, kicking and rustling around frequently and stirring himself awake. So now I am suffering from my recurring bouts of insomnia. It's like my body is more alert and waiting, I expect that he will wake and I won't rest as well. I lose hours of sleep every night and sometimes I panic and worry that I won't be able to function the next day. I am struggling with relaxing now and hate that I am losing sleep because of me and not him. But at least it gives me time to blog.....

I believe it is due to his teeth, or correction, his gums. I have yet to see a whitecap emerge from his little pink gums but there is no question that he is in pain and it is this pain that rouses him nightly. "They" say not to feed him if he wakes in the middle of the night as he will get used to it. I struggle with this because every hunger cue he has ever given me is in overdrive when he does wake - he's starving. I am trying to treat the teething symptoms more now, rubbing some benadryl over his gums with my finger, giving him an ice cold dummy to soothe; hoping for a miracle. I'd rather not pick him up because I know my little guy, that means food! I am trusting my instincts though, and feeding if I know that there is no way around it. The ever guessing game of being a mom. Just when you think you have figured out one thing something else goes amazingly wrong or changes and you are left knowing less than when you started.

I guess until I can come up with some way to ease my own tension and turn of my mommy instincts I will be burning the midnight (or all night) oil. This may prove promising to rejuvenate my blog which I hate to see wither away. I am still not tired! Absolutely amazing, I wonder when this will catch me.