Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gabriel's Adventures in Baby Led Weaning

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had decided on baby led weaning as our method of introducing solid foods to Gabriel. Now that we've been at it for a while, I couldn't be more thrilled with that decision! Gabriel loves feeding himself, and I love that I can take pictures instead of manning the spoon! Here's some pictures of our recent adventures with solid foods!

He made a face at first, but loved his broccoli.

He couldn't get enough mango! Call it coincedence if you choose, but he made Mmmmm noises the whole time!

Oatmeal was yummy and super messy! He used a spoon at first, but as you can tell it didn't last long.

Using a mesh feeder helps him hold real slippery fruit like cantaloupe.

Apples, sweet potato, and avocado make a boy awfully messy.

And messy boys get hosed off in the sink!

Here you can see the two new chompers he's been using to eat all these yummies!

Counting down...

I told myself I wouldn't do this.

This will only make it worse.

I made a big mistake by looking at the calendar today.

It's fifteen days until Joey leaves.


I feel a little sick.

Joey and I have been apart for a week here or there at different times during our (almost) six years of marriage. A job training here, trip to visit family there. No big deal. This is nine weeks. Nine long weeks that I'll be without my husband, my partner, my best friend, and right hand. Nine weeks that I won't be able to see Gabriel's face light up when Daddy walks in the room. This is going to be much harder than I thought.

Joey will read this and tell me that it'll be worse for him. He has a point. While Gabriel and I are playing the day away, Daddy will be getting yelled at for just about everything. The Navy will be good for Joey though, and good for us. I keep telling myself that... and it does make me feel better.

The bad part though, is that nine weeks is just the beginning of our time apart. Gabriel and I will travel to see Joey graduate from boot camp and spend the weekend with him, but after that it'll be another 26 weeks that we will live apart. We can (and will!) come visit during that time, but at the moment I can't talk myself into that being enough.

It has to be though.

I'll have to put on my big girl panties.

I know there's a pair around here somewhere.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Baby Led Weaning

So far, Gabriel has had ZERO interest in baby food. He'll let you put in a bite of baby mush and that's about it. He has however, been eye-balling and reaching for everything that we eat for quite some time now. Our pediatrician told us at his four month appointment that we could start trying solids and mentioned that he is a big fan of just letting baby try a taste of what's on your plate. We weren't opposed to that at all, but I guess at the time I didn't think too much about it. We tried rice cereal and oatmeal on and off with no success. I wasn't in a hurry to get him to eat solid foods yet; it's more about exploring at this age anyway. So after laying off for about a month or more, we tried sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, apples, and bananas all several times- still nothing. He started to become more agitated while watching the big people eat though, so slowly I started giving him a taste. He tore up the sweet potato I was eating at Outback Steakhouse, went to town on a lemon wedge that we gave him as a joke, and snatched Mimi's piece of raisin bread right out of her hand and shoved it in his mouth!! (By the way, seeing whole re-hydrated raisins later in his diaper was really quite disturbing!) So I started wondering why I couldn't just give him normal table food? After a little research online, I found quite a bit of information on Baby Led Weaning, which is just a fancy name for giving your little one regular food in manageable pieces that they eat all on their own. This obviously means lots of messes to clean up, but also means that baby is learning to chew before swallowing (which baby food doesn't teach); they're exploring different textures, and developing fine motor skills. So it's been decided. Gabriel will be a BLW baby. Although we've played around at this already without really knowing it, today was the first time Gabriel sat in his seat and was served up regular food that was all his own. He thoroughly enjoyed nom nom noming on his green beans!

Green bean cigarette?

For more info on baby led weaning and the most adorable pics of babes chowing down, visit http://www.babyledweaning.com/

Did any of you choose to skip over baby food? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What type of mom are you?

My mom loves to tell people that when she would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always gave the same answer- a mommy. Never a doctor, an astronaut, a singer, or a vet...always a mommy. It's true; I've wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. During my growing up years that included staying at home like my mom did. Still, if you had told me a few years ago that today I would be a breastfeeding, bed sharing, stay-at-home mom, I would have laughed at you.

Life in the "real world" put a fear in me that financially we could never make it on one income. Joey was convinced it was necessary for us to both work, and at the time I didn't really have an argument because I couldn't see a way around it either. So I worked on climbing the corporate ladder.

While working I came across many types of moms- single moms, married moms with supportive husbands and with jerk off husbands, those who worked full-time, part-time, and some that just needed to get out of the house and have a little adult conversation. I wondered what type of mom I would be. Lots of moms stand out in my mind when I think back about all the lovely ladies that worked for me over the years. I didn't realize it at the time, but each of them were teaching things that I needed to know before being a mom myself. Without giving any names, I'll tell you about a few that I have much more respect for now that I get it.

First, is the single mom. I respected her at the time to be sure. I saw the struggle it was for her to both provide for her son, and to be there for him as much as possible. She worked two jobs to support them. Full-time 8-5, and part-time for me a few nights a week and on weekends. As was the norm for being the boss, I was the bad guy. The retail world doesn't stop for baseball games or all the countless birthday parties that kids get invited to. She wanted to do it all, but I needed her to work. She slowly became more and more depressed that she saw so little of her son, and her performance dropped off a cliff. I felt for her, but my boss was chewing and that had to stop. We had a talk and she decided that she couldn't make the job work anymore. I was relieved that I didn't have to continue to nag on her performance, or worse take "next steps". I ran into this mom on Mother's Day. I was strolling through the mall, enjoying my day with Gabriel and Joey. She was working. My heart broke for her. I wished her a happy Mother's Day, gave her a hug, and whispered, "I'm so sorry." in her ear. Without saying a word, her face told me, "You do what you have to do." I know I will for Gabriel.

Second, the breastfeeding mom. I'll say first that breastfeeding never really interested me. My mom didn't BF me, and no one I knew had breastfed either. It seemed unnecessary, and I wondered why anyone would bother when formula seemed to produce healthy children too. This mom was pregnant with her second son when I took over the store she worked in. She soon after left on maternity leave, and returned to work afterwards carrying a big black tote bag. Everyday she toted that heavy thing into work, and quite a bit of time went by before I even realized what it was for- pumping. How it went unnoticed that she went to the bathroom during her lunch break everyday, and didn't come out until her lunch was over is...well, sad. When I did notice, I thought ewwww! I was repulsed that she spent her entire lunch break eating and pumping in the bathroom. I wondered why anyone would subject themselves to such torture. Ugh...eating in the bathroom? No way! Any musings on what it would be like to breastfeed flew right out of my head. Nothing to think about. I wasn't doing it. Luckily I was an avid reader while pregnant. I learned the benefits to bfing and decided to give it a try. I knew I'd only bf during my maternity leave though. There was no way I was hanging out in the bathroom on my lunch break! As it turned out, I didn't return to work. Looking back I keep kicking myself for allowing her to pump in the bathroom. She never complained, and it didn't occur to me to figure out a better place for her. The parking lot was too far considering we only had 30min lunch breaks, and the stock room wouldn't have provided any privacy. The only other option was my office. Really my office wasn't just mine though. It was used by her and our PT managers too, so I don't know if that was a great option. It had a lock on the door, but I wonder if she would have just worried the whole time that someone would need in the file cabinet while she was in there. I could have figured something out for her, but I didn't know any better. Poor thing pumped in the bathroom for months on end. I cringe at the thought, but if the bathroom was my only option, I'd do the same thing for Gabriel.

Lastly, I'll tell you about the mom that just had to get out of the house. I'll tell you about one of them, but there were actually MANY of this type of mom! This mom was a stay-at-home mom of two little ones. She started working PT to have an opportunity for adult conversation. As it turned out, working really suited her. It gave her the boost of confidence she needed after spending most of her days playing peek-a-boo while wearing spit-up. She quickly became interested in working towards a promotion, which meant more hours. After she received that one, she was determined to get promoted again. That promotion was a FT position. This was the mom I had a hard time understanding. She was able to stay at home like I wanted to, but chose to work instead. I understand now that being a stay-at-home mom is a thankless job. No one comes by to compliment you on your successes on a regular basis. There are no performance reviews to praise your strengths and help you to build on your opportunities. There are no interviews for you to brag about all you've accomplished. No promotions. No pay raises....and worse, no pay at all! Having all of those things gave this mom the oompf she needed. Her relationship with her husband started to spark and she was overall a happy and confident woman. I see how I lack the confidence I once had while I was working. I'd like to get it back in another way, but I respect her decision to work for the happiness of her and her family. Whatever the reason, I'll never judge a working mom again.

Now that I'm a mom, I realize that as long as you love your child unconditionally and provide all their needs, there are no right and wrong ways to be a mom. What works for some, would never work for others. So whatever type of mom you are, be her with confidence!

What type of mom are you? Is that what you expected?