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Friday Links

Hold the phone. So, it’s Thursday night, and I’m getting this post ready for Friday. And I’ve just realized that Sadie has been down in her crib for three hours. That may sound like small potatoes to some of you, but it’s a big deal around this little house. AND, last night, she slept from 11pm to 4:30am. I’m pretty sure she’s only ever slept that long in one go one other time in her life. When she was a week old. Okay, so now I’ve probably jinxed it, and she’ll wake up before I finish the post and for every hour on the hour until it’s time to get up.

Guess I’d better get these links in fast:

There is an urgent need for human breastmilk in Haiti. Of course, there’s a need for it here in the US all the time, but breastmilk can really be a life-saver in crises such as this. Because I am on prescription medication, I am ineligible to donate my milk. But if you are currently nursing an under-one-year-old and meet the other criteria and are willing to make the effort, please at least check into it.

I SO want to adopt some sort of home-management system. I actually wrote one out by hand the other day, and Trevor stuck it on the fridge, but we’ve pretty much done nothing with it. It’s the same way with dieting and exercise for me, I think. Would like to get on board, at least to some degree, but seriously lack the required motivation. Self-discipline has never been my strong suit. But, boy would I LOVE to have floors that are consistently free of fur and other visible debris. Or not to have to spend Sundays (our one full day together as a family each week) grocery shopping, running errands, doing laundry, etc. What I think I need is a task master. Like, a real live person who can boss me around and tell me to sweep the floors, walk the dogs and wash the shower curtain. Oh, and he or she would put Sadie down for a nap while I got all of it done.

In that vein, this sounds like a good idea. If only I would get around to making a list in the first place, in order to identify what my “frog” is.

As a co-sleeping, crib-sleeping family, I thought this post was interesting. It really does boil down to figuring out what works best for your family.

This made my tear up, for sure. It’s been a while since I’ve had a pet die, and it’s a part of having pets that I don’t look forward to. That said, it is one of the qualities of having pets for Sadie to grow up with that I think will benefit her in the long run. It will be devastating to lose each of our pets, but their deaths will provide an opportunity for Sadie to learn about many things–not just death. But for now, I just keep telling Tarzan he’s just going to have to live forever.

Oh, so we’re coming on three and a half hours! Squee!

Wayback Wednesday

Oh, there are just so many things that make me sentimental when I see this picture. Although my short-term memory has always been horrible, my memory for the little details of my life is deep.

Okay, so that’s me on the left. Then Vincent, the youngest, who recently graduated (early!) from law school, is married and has a two-year-old. Then Paul, who Sadie came out looking like at first. He’s jot a great job helping kids, he’s getting married next year and he and his fiancee have four (!) dogs, two birds and an aquarium full of fish. Then Meg, who could not look more like Aunt Margie if she tried. Despite appearances, I am six months and 22 days older than Meg. She and I had a love-not-love relationship growing up, since we were so close. But now it’s nothing but love. She has finally found her path as a real estate agent (so if you’re in the Central AR area and need to sell or buy a house, let her know!), and she’s doing a really good job at it.

I’m pretty sure this picture was taken in the summer of 1991, I think. We were at our Nonie’s (grandmother) house, and we had just finished a performance for her to the Mickey Mouse Club record on her record player. She also had a player piano that we would play with a lot. The four of us are the younger half of our brood, and it wasn’t unusual for us to go to Nonie’s while the older three went somewhere more exotic with Aunt Margie and Uncle Gene. To be fair, we got our turn as the older ones moved out of the house. And even though we probably complained on the way to West Memphis, we always had a good time with Nonie. We played a lot of Rummikube. We played hide-and-go-seek and sardines over and over. We took walks around her block. And we probably said the Rosary every night we were there. Oh, and the food! Nonie is Italian and made the BEST spaghetti. She also had a way with pot roast and green beans. And always a slice of wheat bread on the side. Having been a child during the Depression (She was born in 1920, which means she’s turning 90 this year!), she was quite the saver. She had stores and stores of nonperishable goods–though, trust me, a five-year-old soda has had time to perish! She now lives in Florida with one of our uncles, and her house was sold a few years ago. But I think I could probably draw you the floor plan in two minutes.


It’s getting harder and harder to get Willow to come in from the yard (that is, when the ground isn’t too wet for her prescious paws), now that we have the chickens. I honestly am not sure if she’s watching over them because she thinks they’re hers to eat–as soon as she can figure out how to access them, OR if she’s watching over them because she thinks it’s her job. What’s definitely NOT her job is barking at them when they’re trying to sleep. silly pup!

On the other side

We all survived a night of Sadie not nursing after midnight, and it went more smoothly than we figured it would. Sure, we didn’t get much sleep after 3:30, but Sadie was by no means unmanageable. Her surgery went well–it was very quick. She was NOT a happy camper when we met her in the recovery room. Or in the car. Or at IHOP, where Sadie’s Mimi took us for breakfast. That is, until she tucked into some silverdollar pancakes and some nasty pink kiddie yogurt. Two naps and a little lunch later, things are on the up-and-up.

Friday links and a few random thoughts.

I thought I’d share some links of things I’ve been reading this past week. Maybe it’ll become a regular thing on “the new blog,” which I promise is really going to happen.

This is amazing. Super awesome photos done with super high-speed shutters (h/t to Corrinne).

This is so true. It’s really hard sometimes to balance Sadie’s physical needs, which she cannot yet meet herself, with my more advanced needs, which are easy to ignore until they pile up and I’m ready to explode.

This is something that’s important to me. I had an interesting conversation with my little sister about this the other day–a glaring difference between our childhood and that of Sadie’s generation is the HUGE influx of products marketed toward children. Sure, I had a Cabbage Patch birthday cake (I always wanted to eat the entire preemie head, but my Mom wouldn’t ever let me.), but I didn’t have the matching cups, plates, balloons, party favors, sleeping bag, bed sheets, suitcase and on and on and on. Anyway…sounds like the makings of my own post, no?

This is interesting. I’m glad I went to college. I sort of wish I hadn’t gone to graduate school (of course, then I wouldn’t have Shannon in my life, which would be bad). Trevor did neither and has made a great place for himself in his career path as a bicycle mechanic. But now he has to share my grad school debt. I wonder what things will be like when Sadie is college-aged.

This is a nice goal to have. I think, once I get hired on “for real” and am making a nicer salary, I want to use this method of financial planning.

And here are some things I’ve been thinking about today.

  • Why are we supposed to get our doctor’s approval before we introduce our babies to any and all foods? Really, do I need a medical professional to tell me whether or not Sadie can have peas? I get asking for guidance for things like potentially-allergenic foods, but I just keep reading, “You can offer ___ to your baby (with your doctor’s consent, of course) from ___ months of age.” Really? Does anybody actually do this? I don’t ask this so I can ridicule… I truly am interested.
  • I am almost never ever alone. I knew this was what I was getting into, and I wouldn’t go back and undo it if I could. But, man, it would kind of be nice to be able to come home to an empty house and just lie around on the couch for two hours, maybe watching a Harry Potter movie for the fiftybillionth time. Or watch Clueless on Netflix, since Trevor won’t watch it with me. Even if I did get that time alone, I’d probably spend it cleaning the floors. Which I hate to do, and which would make me mad that I was spending my alone time cleaning. But it really stinks to see the knees of Sadie’s pants turn brown after crawling from just one end of the room to the other. I get over it, I guess.
  • Trevor just told me that maybe we really can move to Europe some day. I’ve been trying to figure out how to leverage his bicycle mechanic career into a move to Europe, and he’s always told me it wouldn’t work. If he worked for a team (like those that race in the Tour de France, for example), Sadie and I would never see him. But, NOW he tells me that there are companies in Europe that, if he got some mechanics licenses and payed his dues working races here in the U.S., he might have the slightest chance at getting hired by. It’s a long shot, sure, and it would/will take him a long time to even get to where it’s a long shot. But there’s a chance, and that’s all I’m looking for right now!

Read all about it!

I thought surely I’d be posting on my new blog by today. And I’ve been saving my big, great news as my debut post over there. But it’s taking a bit longer than I expected to get the new site built out. And I’ve got several updates that I don’t want to wait any longer to write about.

So here’s the news: We got chickens! Yes, real live ones. We now have four hens living in a pen in our backyard. They seem happy; we are thrilled. Sadie is enthralled with them, and the dogs are pretty darn interested, too. I haven’t finished naming them (only two have names so far), so I can’t introduce them all to you just yet. We got them on Saturday, and we’ve already gotten four eggs from them.

In other, non-farm-animal news, Sadie is all set to have tubes put in her ears. Her surgery will be this coming Monday. It feels weird to be relieved that she’s having surgery, but the procedure is super fast and minor, and this should bring her immense relief. I don’t think she or I have slept longer than two consecutive hours in months, barring a couple of exceptions. I know this probably won’t fix everything overnight, but I think it should help us help her sleep longer stretches.

Also, Sadie has cut her third tooth! It’s on the top and off to one side. It’s not in all the way yet, but it’s kind of funny looking. I’ve gotten so used to her having these two bottom teeth, I’d sort of forgotten that she’d be getting more. It’s actually a little sad. Can’t keep them from growing up.
Here are the ladies in their pink chicken tractor. They love it!

This is Persaline. She's the darkest red of the four. She pecked Trevor's fingers yesterday. So watch out around this one...she's feisty.

And, in case you think I've forgotten about Sadie, here she is. She was trying so hard to get her little blue lamb that was at the bottom. Don't worry; I retrieved her from the depths as soon as I got all the pictures I wanted she started fussing.

Where am I? Wednesday

I’ve been absent a bit from the blog, and for a pretty good reason. I’ve been spending all of my extra time (almost an oxymoron) on building out my new blog. I know that some blog professionals would say that starting a third blog isn’t the best idea, but I’ve got some thoughts on a new direction I’d like to take my blogging in, and it really does call for starting afresh. I think you all will like it–much of it will be the same as what I’ve been doing here.

And building a blog from scratch is REALLY hard. For me. I’m going to be getting some help soon, thank goodness.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted (no pun intended).

A whole-food baby

Munching on a Sadie-sized pear.

Okay, so now that Sadie is nine months old, this isn’t going to sound like the major revelation that it was for us when Sadie was six and a half or seven months old (I can’t quite remember when we had this lightbulb moment). But that’s about when I discovered the concept of baby-led weaning.

Prior to this discovery, I had made and frozen a bunch of baby food purees—squash, green beans, sweet potatoes, peaches, pears. I had this image of Sadie dining on locally-grown produce, picked and processed while in season. We got a little hasty with starting Sadie on solids (she just seemed SO READY), so we stuck with rice and then oat baby cereal, putting the pureed fruits and vegetables on hold. Once she reached six months, we started experimenting with the purees. It was going fairly well, and I’m not even sure what prompted me to Google “baby-led weaning.”

So! The basic principle is that, at or around six months, babies are developmentally ready to learn—not just to eat—but to feed themselves. What an idea! Instead of shoveling mush into Sadie’s mouth, I could give her whole foods (in appropriately-sized pieces, mind you—the definition of which is open for interpretation) and let her figure it out. There’s not a ton of information out there about baby-led weaning, but I’ve read most of what these two sites have to offer.

Basically, I try to feed Sadie some of what we’re eating. Of course, we only feed her the parts that are Sadie-appropriate (so, no fried catfish or anything like that). For example, the other night we had a dish with eggplant, onion, garlic, herbs, tomatoes and green olives. I didn’t want her to have the tomatoes (possibly allergenic—but I’m starting to question all of the allergy rules) or the olives (way too salty), so I just pulled out a few pieces of the eggplant before I added those ingredients. Should have pulled out more—she loved the eggplant! Sometimes our dinner is totally inappropriate, so I’ll do a little something special, like steam up some carrots or give her some toast. And she almost never eats all that I’ve got for her, so I save it for a meal the next day.

A funny aside: when I was first getting started, I kept being so confused when I’d read on the website to cut fruits and vegetables into “chip” shaped pieces. I thought, “How the heck am I supposed to manage that—a chip?!” Well, duh. These ladies are Scottish, and “chip” to them is “French fry” to us. Much easier to cut a bell pepper into a fry-shaped piece than a potato chip-shaped piece. Surely you wouldn’t be as foolish.

Here are some of my thoughts on baby-led weaning.

  • I am by no means a nutritionist. Or a doctor. Or anything other than a mom who reads and writes a lot. Don’t take my word on anything—do your own research!
  • I definitely don’t claim that this is the best or the one right way to teach babies about solid food. It’s just what makes the most sense to me with Sadie. If she weren’t the proactive baby she is, this might have gone horribly.
  • Disclaimers aside, this REALLY clicked with me.
  • I feel like Sadie is truly learning how to eat real foods. Yes, she gags. No, she’s never choked. A couple of times I’ve helped her get a tricky piece of food out of her mouth with her finger, but she’s even learned how to do this for herself. The gagging has taken some patience on my part to get through. Having always seen adults jump out of their seats at the first sign of difficulty and whack the baby on the back or swipe a finger in the mouth, I had to re-train myself a bit. Instead of assuming she’s about to need the Heimlich, whenever she’s having trouble, I just wait her out. And she works it out on her own. Oh, and this is all with just two teeth. She puts those gums to work!
  • I feel like this will help her develop healthy eating attitudes and habits. My job is to present her with healthy food options. Her job is to decide what goes in her mouth. No force feeding (this goes along very well with Attachment Parenting principle two, Feed with Love and Respect). At this point, her nutritional needs are still being met by my breastmilk. Any solids she eats are just for the experience of it. I’m not sure how things might change after her first birthday, when she will need a more complete diet of solid foods, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
  • I suspect this will also help her be a less picky eater. For one thing, she’s already been tasting my diet every time she nurses (so she’s good and ready for Ben and Jerry’s as soon as I let her, I’m sure). Aside from salt, I’m no longer avoiding seasoning the food I give her. There have been very few things she’s fully rejected, so I take this as a decent sign.
  • If there’s a Next Time, I definitely plan on waiting the full six months before introducing any solids and starting with whole solids from the beginning. No mush at all! I’m pretty sure that pureed baby foods came about at a time when the trend was to start your baby on solids at three or four months. And an industry was born. But at six months, many babies can sit unsupported/in a high chair, can pick up smallish objects, can put these objects in their mouths, and can do some chewish movements with their jaws. Sounds like a good case for not spoon-feeding a six-month-old to me!

Yes, I do have a freezer full of purees. Some of them have “expired,” because I made them too far in advance. The fruits have gone over pretty well when spread on a piece of whole wheat toast. And I’ve also started to pre-load a baby spoon for her, which she is then able to stick in her own mouth.

So what has Miss Sadie been eating? Well, she has had (in their non-mushed forms, and in no particular order) squash, zucchini, green beans, carrots, pears, apples, grapes, rice, oats, broccoli, wheat toast, flour tortillas, black beans, avocados, sweet potatoes, lady peas, green peas, chicken, turkey, eggplant, cauliflower, wheat pita, hummus, oat cereal and puffs. Her favorites so far are pears, black beans and green peas. She also really likes cereal. I bought some for her that turned out to be too crunchy for her…the solution? Soak them in breastmilk. She had that for breakfast this morning, and she loved it!

As for the food allergy situation, there is a lot of conflicting information out there on this. Even within my own family. We talked to Sadie’s pediatrician about this at her appointment the other day, and she said that the current guidelines are suggesting that waiting until a year to expose babies to potentially allergenic foods probably doesn’t prevent—and possibly even causes—the increased likelihood of an allergy. Since neither Trevor nor I (nor our siblings) have any food allergies, I think we’re going to relax a bit further on some of the foods we’ve been waiting to introduce (dairy products, citrus fruits, berries, egg yolks, pork, etc.). We will still wait for peanuts and egg whites, because apparently the reactions to those can be pretty ugly. Honey, of course, but because of botulism, not allergies. We haven’t exactly been by-the-book about the four-day rule, but I think I will stick to that when we introduce these foods.

How have you handled introducing solids to your wee ones?