Monthly Archives: November 2009

Thankful.

Sorry I’ve been a bit absent. Then again it seems the rest of the blog community has as well so I don’t feel so bad.

Usually this happens to me when I get wrapped up in a project or a book. Both are happening right now. Can’t really blog the projects because they are Christmas presents. And I’m sure you’d get sick of me quoting passages from the book I’m reading.

I’ve also been experiencing some “false” labor freakouts since Sunday and so I’ve been technically on bedrest. The best way to make this work with Bean when I am home alone with her is to hole ourselves up in our guestroom with some of her toys where she really can’t get into anything, can’t go running off into places she isn’t allowed and so I don’t have to go up and down the stairs 50 times a day for diaper changes, naps, etc.

So because of that it seems our decision this year not to go anywhere for Thanksgiving was a good one. Though it has made for the most different and quiet Thanksgiving we’ve had since we were dating. I actually wondered if we’d even have a traditional feast at several points or just wind up eating leftovers because nearly every activity starts me feeling like I’m about to go into labor. Not fun.

But I managed to save up most of my energy and pull off a little mini-feast for our three person family.


Herb roasted turkey half breast on a bed of brown and wild rice stuffing.


The feast, clockwise from top: rice stuffing, herb roasted turkey, cheater Trader Joe’s gravy (I’m terrible at making gravy and theirs is pretty good), mashed potatoes, and cranberry orange sauce (not from a can, once you do it homemade you’ll never go back).


This was the first Thanksgiving where it was possible for Bean to eat the food, but she just played with it instead. Gotta love my picky little eater.

So anyway I am thankful for many things today. Among them:
-Not actually going into labor yet. I am hoping to at least make it to 36 weeks (Monday) and even better would be 37 weeks so that I can still have the labor/birth experience I want and have him at home with my midwife. Before Monday and we’ll be making a not-so-fun emergency trip to the hospital.
-My sister, Andrea. She dropped everything she was doing on Tuesday to help me out. She drove down here, purchased some of my homebirth supplies, went grocery shopping for me, helped me do a bunch of laundry, clean, entertained Bean and so much more. And on top of it all she’s 29 weeks pregnant. Seriously, the girl is a superstar.
-My husband. Tuesday after work he went to Target and got the rest of our homebirth supplies, some of which include items that are quite embarassing for him to purchase, I’m sure. He got up this morning with Bean, let me rest and relax pretty much the whole day and has been rocking the deep cleaning of our house and still is as I type this. He is awesome.


The giant to-do list he made today and has nearly completed!

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The Mommy Myth

Most people don’t get (or want) to look at old news footage, but we looked at thirty years of stories relating to motherhood. In the 1970s, with the exception of various welfare reform proposals, there was almost nothing in the network news about motherhood, working mothers, or childcare. And when you go back and watch news footage from 1972, for example, all you see is John Chancellor at NBC in black and white reading the news with no illustrating graphics, or Walter Cronkite sitting in front of a map of the world that one of the Rugrats could have drawn–that’s it.

But by the 1980s, the explosion in the number of working mothers, the desperate need for day care, sci-fi level reproductive technologies, the discovery of how widespread child abuse was–all this was newsworthy. At the same time, the network news shows were becoming more flashy and sensationalistic in their efforts to compete with tabloid TV offerings like A Current Affair and America’s Most Wanted. NBC, for example introduced a story about day care centers in 1984 with a beat-up Raggedy Ann doll lying limp next to a chair with the huge words Child Abuse scrawled next to her in what appeared to be Charles Manson’s handwriting. So stories that were titillating, that could be really tarted up, that were about children and sex, or children and violence–well, they just got more coverage than why Senator Rope-a-Dope refused to vote for decent day care. From the McMartin day-care scandal and missing children to Susan Smith and murdering nannies, the barrage of kids-in-jeopardy, ‘innocence corrupted’ stories made mothers feel they had to guard their kids with the same intensity as the secret service guys watching POTUS.

Having discovered in the summer of 2001 that one missing Congressional intern and some shark attacks could fill the twenty-four-hour news hold, the cable channels the following year gave us the summer of abducted girls (rather than, say, in-depth probes of widespread corporate wrongdoing that robbed millions of people of millions of dollars). Even though FBI figures showed a decline in missing persons and child abductions, such stories were, as Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter put it, ‘inexpensive’ and got ‘boffo ratings.’ It goes without saying that such crimes are horrific and, understandably, bereft parents wanted to use the media to help locate their kidnapped children. But the incessant coverage of the abductions of Samantha Runnion (whose mother, the media repeatedly reminded us, was at work), Elizabeth Smart, Tamara Brooks, Jacqueline Marris, and Danielle van Dam terrified parents across the country all out of proportion to the risks their children faced. (To put things in perspective, in a country of nearly three hundred million people, estimates were that only 115 children were taken by strangers in way that were dangerous to the child.) Unlike mothers in the 1950s, then, we were never to let our children out of our sight at carnivals, shopping malls, or playgrounds, and it was up to us to protect them from failing schools, environmental pollution, molesters, drugs, priests, Alar, the Internet, amusement parks, air bags, jungle gyms, South Park, trampolines, rottweilers, gangs and HBO specials about lap dancers and masturbation clubs. It’s a wonder any women had children and, once they did, ever let them out of their sight.

Then there were the magazines. Beginning in the 1980s, and exploding with a vengeance in the ’90s, celebrity journalism brought us a feature that spread like head lice through women’s magazines, as well as the more recent celebrity and ‘lifestyle’ glossies: the celebrity mom profile. If any media form has played a central role in convincing young women without children that having a baby is akin to ascending to heaven and seeing God, it is the celebrity mom profile. ‘Happiness is having a baby,’ gushed Marie Osmond on a 1983 cover of Good Housekeeping, and Linda Evans, at the peak of her success in Dynasty, added in Ladies Home Journal, ‘All I want is a husband and baby.’ Barbara Mandrell proclaimed, ‘Now my children come first,’ Valerie Harper confessed, ‘I finally have a child to love,’ and Cybill Shepard announced, ‘I’ll have a fourth baby or adopt!’ Assaulting us from every supermarket checkout line and doctor’s or dentist’s offices, celebrity moms like Kathie Lee Gifford, Joan Lunden, Jaclyn Smith, Kirstie Alley, and Christie Brinkley (to name just a few) beamed from the comfy serenity and perfection of their lives as they gave multiple interviews about their ‘miracle babies,’ how much they loved their kids, what an unadulterated joy motherhood was, and about all the things they did with their kids to ensure they would be perfectly normal Nobel laureates by the age of twelve. By the summer of 1999, one of People’s biggest summer stories, featuring the huge cover headlines ‘BOY, OH BOY,” was the birth of Cindy Crawford’s baby. The following summer, under the headline “PREGNANT AT LAST!” we had the pleasure of reading about the sperm motility rate of Celine Dion’s husband, information that some of us, at least, could have lived without. In 2003, Angelina Jolie claimed that her adopted baby ‘saved my life.’ The media message was that celebrity moms work on the set for twelve hours a day, yet somehow manage to do somersaults with their kids in the park, read to them every day, take them out for ice cream whenever they wanted, get up with them at 3:00 a.m., and, of course, buy them toys, animals, and furniture previously reserved for the offspring of the Shah of Iran. These were supposed to be our new role models.

The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How it has Undermined Women by Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels

Just some stuff I’m reading right now and contemplating. Good to know other people don’t have it all together. Also this books combines media analysis with continuing cultural norms/beliefs. Kinda something I’m into. I think if I ever went back to work I’d probably want to be a media critic or analyst instead of a journalist. Not sure there is a huge market for that kind of job, but you know, a girl can dream.

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The allergy journey begins.

Friday morning I got a message from our pediatrician that she had received Bean’s food allergy test results from a blood test we did earlier in the week.

My suspicions were correct, Bean was allergic to eggs. On a six class scale, the pediatrician said Bean’s allergy level was a class three which is high. So that means no more flu shots and no MMR since both of those vaccinations use eggs in the manufacturing process. I’m really glad I spoke up about my suspicion at our last appointment since Bean was scheduled to receive both the booster for the flu shot and the MMR. I thought the first reaction was bad, I can only imagine what a double exposure would have done to her.

What I was not prepared for however, was hearing that Bean is also allergic to wheat and dairy.

The test specifically tested for wheat allergy and didn’t test for gluten sensitivity. So technically I could give her any number of other grains. However, there is a family history of gluten allergies/intolerance in my family so I decided I would pull her off gluten.

The dairy results showed that she was allergic to the casein protein specifically. This means she is allergic to all milk from mammals (even human).

I was completely shocked about it. I think because of the casein allergy in particular. It makes me wonder how long she’s had this allergy. How long I’ve essentially been poisoning her. And even questioning the merits of breastfeeding.

She showed no signs of the other allergies. Wheat and dairy made up some of her favorite foods.

I’m also still worried about her diet in general and her weight gain. Dairy products probably made up a majority of her fat and protein intake. For milk I am doing a blend of soy, hemp, rice and coconut. Bean hasn’t seemed to notice.

I found an egg replacer for baking. She wasn’t really getting much egg anyway since I began to suspect the allergy.

There are also tons of gluten free products, especially since so many people seem to be going gluten-free these days.

So now, just like with my three year nut allergy I’m back to closely scanning ingredient labels. It definitely makes life more complicated and expensive.

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Knitted Friend 2.0

Saturday, Nov. 14 4:30pm as we are loading the van back up to head home from Bakersfield…
Me: Where is the doll? I can’t find it anywhere.
Stephen: I don’t know. Maybe it got put in this white bag.
Me: I looked there already three times.
Stephen: Maybe it is in the back with the stroller. Or she threw it on the floor.

A frantic search (Well, I was the only frantic one, to be honest) of the van from top to bottom ensues. I also called my sister to see if the doll had been dropped when we were with her.
Me: I can’t believe the doll got lost.
Stephen: I’m sorry. It’s just really hard. I had a lot to keep track of today with her, the diapers, the snacks, and the doll. She probably threw it down when we were around town or it fell out of the van when I opened the door and I just didn’t see it. The sippy cups and stuff are a lot easier to tell when she drops because you can hear it. It was just a lot to keep track of.
Me: I know. I do this every day.
Stephen: Well it’s just a doll. She’s going to lose stuff. This won’t be the last time.

I am quiet and sulking for the next hour.

5:30pm, near Santa Clarita
Stephen: I think you are more upset than she is. She probably hasn’t even noticed. You really need to put this in perspective. We have a healthy, happy daughter. That’s what really matters.
Me: I’m allowed to be upset about the doll. It was a special doll. I made the doll. She loved the doll. She’s been carrying it around with her everywhere for a month. She sleeps with it every night. That stuff made it all that more special to me. I’m allowed to be a little upset.
Stephen: OK, well just don’t let that overshadow what’s important.

6:30pm, Moorpark Marketplace Baja Fresh
Me: I want to go to that Michael’s.
Stephen: You don’t have to say it with the look.
Me: What look?
Stephen: The, don’t-give-me-a-hard-time-about-the-budget-we-are-going-into-that-Michael’s-to-buy-yarn-for-a-new-doll-you-uncaring-doll-destroyer, look.
Me: There wasn’t a look. I don’t know what you are talking about. I just want to see if they still have the yarn I used on the doll. And besides it’s right here.
Stephen: OK, well whatever. There was a look. And it is fine. We can go into the Michael’s.

Nov. 16 at 2:30pm Bean and her friend are reunited.

Michael’s still had most of the yarns I used. I cast on for the doll when we got home that night and finished the final touches during Bean’s nap today. This doll isn’t quiet the same, but Bean didn’t seem to notice. She was just happy to see her friend again.

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A proper update

So I realized that I have been great about documenting all my knitting adventures lately, but not so great about documenting Bean and this pregnancy. The last time I did anything close to a real update was about a month ago when I talked about the learning adventures of Bean. So I’m well overdue, I’d say.

I guess I will start off back at the learning adventures, as it seems like as good a place as any. We’re still trying to make learning a daily part of our lives in a natural way.


Reading with her Papa just before heading out to a Halloween party we attended.

However, I’ve completely cut the DVD portion of the Your Baby Can Read! system out. When all the stuff about the Baby Einsteins videos came out I decided that Bean did not need to be watching TV, even TV specifically designed for babies, yet. Actually, the DVD part of the system is what bugged me the most anyway and that is what I was talking about when I said I was not willing to follow his strict plan for learning.

His suggestion is that you watch the DVD for the unit you are on twice a day. You are also supposed to move on to the next unit once a month and once you move on to a new unit you are still supposed to watch the DVDs from the previous units three times a week. So you figure that by the time you get to the end of the five or six DVD system your kid is basically going to be watching TV a majority of the day. I think this is ridiculous.

Besides, Bean is a very inquisitive and alert little girl. She wants to learn about the world around her. She is constantly asking what stuff is. She loves music and particularly likes it when we sing songs with hand motions in them like The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I really don’t think I have anything to worry about as far as her ability to learn. And besides, she’s ONE.

Bean has become a full-time walker. It has been so nice because now I don’t have to carry her everywhere anymore which is admittedly getting harder and harder to do as the pregnancy wears on. She can climb the stairs and will follow me around the house or walk somewhere holding my hand.

I completely weaned her on November 1. It wasn’t something I was really planning on. Actually, the biting issues had completely stopped (finally!) and I was pretty much fine with continuing to nurse her before naps and at bedtime. Plus, everytime that I thought I was going to do it she’d get a cold or had a reaction to vaccines or something and I felt like I needed to continue so she could get antibodies and stuff.

About a week or so before I weaned her I had started getting really uncomfortable Braxton Hicks during every nursing session that would last for several hours afterwards. So I started to think that I really should reconsider weaning her because I didn’t want nursing to send me into premature labor or something. I was still feeling really torn about the whole thing though because I knew she just wasn’t ready to stop. She was always coming up to me and tugging on my shirt. I guess my philosophy is more along the lines of child-led weaning in some ways.

Well, on the afternoon of November 1 I nursed Bean as usual before her nap and she basically treated me like a jungle gym the entire time. She was even upside down at one point. It was pretty ridiculous. That combined with some contractions afterwards had me frustrated. I came downstairs and told Stephen that I was done. However, in the back of my mind I wasn’t sure if this was really going to be the case. I’ve said that many times and then not actually quit. Well anyway, the rest of the day she didn’t ask to nurse. I gave her some regular milk before bed that night and she didn’t ask to nurse again. The next day came and she didn’t ask to nurse at all. It’s been like that ever since. So I guess she was just done like me. I’m really glad that this is the way it went and I didn’t have to make it happen because I’m not sure I would have been up for it.

On a related note, we’ve been having some food issues around here. Today Bean once again proved that she’s willing to eat pretty much anything so long as it is in a restaurant. She shared chicken nachos from Baja Fresh with me and ate quite a huge portion of them. If I try to make the same thing at home, she picks at it. Same goes for anything from orange chicken to broccoli to pasta, etc. At home she’s just incredibly picky and I can hardly get her to eat. It is very frustrating. Some days I/we go out to eat for lunch or dinner just so I know that she’ll get something to eat besides grains (cereal, bread, oatmeal, or crackers), dairy (yogurt or milk mostly and cheese only in the form of a quesadilla) and fruit. I thought I had solved this problem by eliminating Cheerios from her diet and while that did seem to make things a little better and get her to try a few new items, the problem still seems to persist. I’ve tried the “toddler boat” idea (an ice cube tray or muffin tin filled with various items for them to graze on all day) from Dr. Sears, spoon feeding jar food (works sometimes), and a whole host of other things. At her last doctor’s appointment Bean was anemic and her pediatrician said I need her to eat leafy greens and red meat. I have not been successful at all in this. Any suggestions from parents of other picky eaters would be welcome.

She’s also teething yet again. A couple of bottom teeth are coming in. She’s been a bit of a bear to deal with some days. She is also chewing on everything. I’ve actually had to take her books and other cardboard type toys (some blocks and a couple other items) out of the toy box only to be looked at and read with our active supervision because she was eating them so much. I feel like a bit of a bad mom because of this since she loves her books so much, but the amount of cardboard consumption was getting ridiculous.


Chewing on her crib to alleviate the teething pain.


You can see the damage from her chewing just above her hand on the right side of the picture.

As far as pregnancy, depending on which due date calculation you use I am somewhere between 32w and 33w3d along. In the last week or so I’ve had a resurgence of some of my first trimester woes, particularly heartburn and morning sickness. The morning sickness is fairly easily taken care of by Zofran and Unisom, but both make me really drowsy and so can only be taken just prior to Bean’s nap or bedtime. The heartburn, on the other hand, really doesn’t seem to have any cure. Sometimes it is so bad that it makes me cough and gag.

Even without nursing anymore I am still experiencing a lot of uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions. They usually occur when I have busy days or when I have to climb the stairs a lot. Sometimes they make me have panic attacks. I think this is because my uterus gets so hard that my lungs and other organs are even more squashed than usual. I start to feel like I can’t get a good breath and then I panic. I know this is not good. I’m really trying to figure out ways not to panic and calm down. Sometimes just drinking some really cold water seems to help. I really want to figure this out before it comes time for real labor though or I might be in some serious trouble.

Anyway, that just about sums everything up around here. Hopefully I’ll be more prompt with my updates in the future. 🙂

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Autumn Sweater

So, yesterday was our photo shoot. Hopefully John doesn’t get mad at me for posting this first proof, but he put it on my Facebook page so I figure it is fair game….

I know it doesn’t show off the wardrobe or my belly or anything like that, but I am in love with this photo. I can’t wait to see more!

I pretty much agonized about what to wear up until the last minute. I actually made a trip to the mall and Target about two hours beforehand and made a couple purchases, one for me and one for Bean. I wound up wearing what I bought for myself and went with the original gameplan for Bean.

Remember how I said I was going to buy the Old Navy sweater? Well I did. It got here and it was huge and hideous and nothing like it looked in the picture online. I tried it on then immediately took it off and went straight to UPS to return it.

So on Wednesday afternoon I decided I was going to knit myself a little cardigan instead. I found some surprisingly soft, bulky wool at JoAnn’s and went home to cast on for this sweater. I got about 3/5 of the way done on Thursday afternoon and since it was knit in one piece from the top down I was able to try it on. It was very apparent that this sweater was not at all designed for someone with my bust size. They aren’t even that huge! I usually wear a small to medium, which is what this pattern said it was for. I was totally bummed and began ripping.

I was very frustrated and was seriously almost going to chicken out of the whole photo thing. I know I have nice clothes and had plenty of options to choose from, but I don’t know. When I’m pregnant it just feels like nothing looks good on me or quite the way I want it to at least.

Anyway, a few hours later I decided another attempt was in order, but this time I decided to design my own sweater so that it would be exactly what I wanted.

I ripped back a few times during the design process, but eventually came up with something I actually liked.

I know, I know… terrible photos. This is what happens when you try to do the photoshoot of your own sweater yourself. You guys will just have to wait not so patiently along with me while John works his magic.

In the meantime, here are the specs and the pattern:

Pattern: Autumn Sweater, by me (below).
Yarn: 5 skeins Lion Brand Alpine Wool in Cinnamon
Needles: US 10 bamboo circs
Size: Medium-ish ?
Made for: Me
Modifications: none
Started: 4 p.m. November 5, 2009
Completed: 1 a.m. November 6, 2009

Body
CO 115 sts
Work in seed stitch until work measures 9 1/4 inches (or desired length, if you make it longer you will need to compensate with more yarn).
Change to garter stitch and knit 6 rows.
Next row (RS): Knit
Next row (WS): K4, purl to last 4 sts, K4
Rep for 3 inches more, ending with a WS row.

Arms
Next row (RS): K27 sts, BO 4 sts, K53 sts, BO 4 sts, K 27 sts.
Next row (WS): K4 sts, p23 sts, CO 29 sts, p53 sts, CO 29 sts, p23sts, K4 sts
Next row (RS) K27 sts, pm, p29 sts, pm, K 53 sts, pm, p29 sts, pm, K to end
Continue working as estabilished, purling all rows between markers for a total of six rows, ending with a WS row.

Shoulders
Next Row (RS): Knit to 3 sts before marker (K2tog, K1, sm, k1, ssk) continue knitting across row repeating decreases at each marker.
Next Row (WS): K4, purl to last four sts, K4
Repeat last two rows 10 more times, for a total of 11 decreases before and after each marker.

Neckband
Next Row (RS): Knit
Next Row (WS): Knit
Next Row (RS): K2, BO2, K to end
Next Row (WS): K until two sts remain, CO 2 sts, K2
Next Row (RS): Knit
Next Row (WS): Knit
Next Row (RS): BO all sts
Weave in ends and attach a button.

Since it rarely gets super chilly here in Southern California, I think this is the perfect sweater for Autumn because of the short sleeves and the open front. Also, the one button at the top means preggos like me can wear it too.

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Sweaters for Olive and Archie

So for those of you that don’t knit or appreciate craft projects, I am sorry. This is how nesting and fall manifests itself in me. I kind of go into a knitting/craft project frenzy.

In continuing my quest to use up scrap yarn (I always seem to have just one or two balls of yarn leftover after a project), I decided to knit Olive and Archie some sweaters. You guys remember Olive and Archie, right?

Ever since I decided to make these dolls I have planned to make them extra clothes and all the other accessories that go along with the WeeWonderfuls creations. This time I didn’t buy/follow any of the patterns she has and decided to just knit some up on my own. Olive’s sweater came out a tad smaller than I would have liked, but overall I am happy with them and so is Bean.

And yes, I may just be a bit obsessed with that colorwork pattern from the Elsie Mitts. Good thing I ran out of the yarn or it may have been necessary to stage an intervention.

Pattern: My own.
Yarn: For Olive’s sweater dress I used less than one skeins Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Lake Ice Heather, Knit Picks Telemark in Cilantro Heather and Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK in a light pink color that I don’t have the actual name for because I don’t have the yarn label anymore. For Archie’s sweater I used less than one skein Knit Picks Telemark in Cilantro Heather.
Needles: 3.5mm bamboo DPNs
Size: Olive and Archie size
Made for: Bean’s dolls, Olive and Archie
Modifications: none
Started: November 2, 2009
Completed: November 4, 2009

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