Sunday, October 31, 2010

Game Changers

It's a whole new game here on Baltic Avenue.

So, while we were at Rory's doctors appointment last week, our pediatrician took Rory through the standard developmental evaluation or Nipissing District Developmental Screen.  Rory's evaluation was all high fives and hoorays, so what do we now DO with all those checks in boxes you ask?

Well,  apparently it means that Rory's head and neck control is more than strong enough for bigger motor skill development toys like an Exersaucer and Jumperoo.  Already?!! But he is only 4 months old!! I will admit, this one took me by surprise a bit. He's growing up so fast!

Ok, and she also casually pointed out it will help pop out his slightly flat head at the back. Oops.

So it's a whole new playtime these days...we have officially retired our baby swing and play mats to make way for the next round of toys.  Personally I think these Exersaucer things are terrifying. Talk about over stimulation. Or maybe it's because every SINGLE BUTTON makes a different sound on these puppies. Anyway, Rory seems to dig it.  And anything he digs, means more time for me to do things like load the dish washer. Or make more coffee.

Kudos to Peter for assembling the Exercauser today. Someone should really think about writing a "What to Expect when you're setting up children's toys for the first time" book. And they should cross merchandise it with a case of beer. Seriously.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I got together with some mommy friends today and it was a hilarious display of baby costumes. Tons of fun to dress little kids up. Until they all simultaneously melted down. Check the twins out in the superman and batman costumes. Honestly... too cute. People must make a mint off selling costumes for babies. Anything to make your child look ridiculous.But isn't that what this silly holiday is all about?  It was pretty cute when Rory laughed at himself for a solid 5 minutes in the mirror while wearing his bear costume.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What is in a percentile?

From the moment a baby is born, their physical health and development is charted and compared against other babies of a similar age. In their first few moments of life they are weighed & measured and given an Apgar Score. Since the moment in the delivery room when I was told Rory's weight of 5lbs 8oz, I have obsessed about these comparisons. In fact, I truly believe the reason why I haven't been as successful as other breastfeeding moms is because I have been so stressed about my small baby and his charted weight gains.

When Rory was born, he was in the 5th percentile for weight. His blood sugar was so low in those first few moments of life, once he was weighed and wrapped and had his moments with us, he was taken to the I.C.U at Mount Sinai and immediately given a bottle of formula. We weren't given a choice to do it differently.

The 6 weeks that followed Rory's birth, we had to visit a lactation consultant and a doctor (separately) each week to have Rory weighed. I vividly remember sitting in the tiny office in the breastfeeding clinic at Mount Sinai while a nurse watched me breastfeed my son, and then they would weigh him and tell me in ounces how much he had eaten. I would leave with a piece of paper/a chart that I was to write down each time Rory breastfed, was supplemented with formula, I pumped (for how long and what breast) and the frequency of Rory's pees and poos and return it at my next visit. Those hospital visits were followed by separate visits to Rory's doctor at the time, to have him weighed and talk about feeding again. I will never forget the three consecutive visits where Rory's doctor looked at me and exclaimed "oh my goodness, he isn't gaining weight, or, OH NO, he has LOST weight!?". Only to then figure out her incompetent nurse had erased the electronic record from the previous visit. It was SO hard. Telling a mom that her baby is underweight is one of the worst things a doctor can say, then consistently implying that the same baby is underfed, starving or neglected, and to breastfeeding moms, that your body is not working properly, is devastating. I left every one of those appointments in tears.

And then Rory started to grow. He grew and he grew and he grew. It was like this child was determined to give every person that stressed him, Peter or I out about his tiny birth weight the middle finger.  At 2 months he had almost doubled his birth weight. He shot from the 5th percentile into the 25th percentile for weight. We were blown away and I slowly started to relax.

And then something weird happened. All of the sudden the comments about Rory's tininess turned into - "holy cow, he is so BIG!", or "he's twice the size of kids his age", or "what a big boy"?!!!   Honestly, can a baby get a break these days?  All that growing is so much work!!

So then you know what I did? I started to worry again. Am I feeding him too much, will he be obese when he is older? Is there something WRONG with his weight? Honest to God.

Today was Rory's 4 month old check up. For what it matters, Rory is in the 50th percentile for weight at 14.6lbs and the 90th percentile for height at 26.5 inches.

With that said, all I really cared about was when our pediatrician looked at me and said - "you have one very healthy, and happy baby".

We've come a long way in 4 months. There is lots I wish I knew then, that I know now... for all you girls pregnant for the first time though... a growing baby is a healthy baby no matter what the gain looks like. Hopefully like me, you will eventually have the confidence to listen less to what others have to say, and spend more time trusting yourself, and trusting your baby.  It all goes by so quick. Not a moment to waste.

Rory rockin' his tummy time at 4 months, and talking to Gramma who drove all the way down here just to take Rory for his needles. We love Gramma!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family Pictures

I just can't wait to share these so its a double post Monday! We got a sneak peak at our family shoot today. The incredibly talented Heather Lynch took these amazing shots....taken one year exactly from our wedding weekend :).

I am in love with them!!!! Thanks Heather, what a supr fun day!

Check out some more here -

October Family Time

What a great weekend! We took advantage of the gorgeous day on Saturday and headed out early for brunch on the Danforth. We don't have much experience with Rory in busy restaurants (with the exception of our anniversary weekend) so we headed out with some trepidation and ended up by chance meeting up with good friends of ours and their two kids (who live around the corner but we never see). The kids were angels!

We then headed out to a pumpkin patch to do some of the requisite fall family activities. Hay wagon ride - check, corn maze - check, pumpkin patch - check, soft serve ice cream and gingerbread - check!

 Since we were already out of the city we decided to do what is one of my favourite things about Almonte and "drop in" on great friends of ours in Newmarket who we also rarely get to see. It ended up turning into such an enjoyable evening of dinner, great chats and lots of laughs. Thanks Cedar, Vanessa, Seth & Angus!

As Peter and I drove home to Toronto on Saturday at 10pm we realized we had literally been out of the house since 10am in the morning. 12 spontaneous hours out and about with Rory and he was as good as gold. Lots of smiles, laughs and naps! We have ourselves a good baby. I will say it again, not sure if it is something we're doing right or if this kid comes by this honestly all on his own, but there is lots to smile about despite the rain this Monday morning.


Saturday, October 23, 2010


Or in this case, 4. Four months that is. Time flies when you're growing.
Gosh I love this child.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby its cold outside

It was 1 freaking degree when we woke up this morning. A frosty Toronto morning indeed. Especially since mommy has a horrible cold. Thank god it’s Friday. 

So, the cold weather has been on my mind since a walk I took earlier this week with Rory. It was a sunny but colder than average day, I had him in a fleece sweat suit and in his bassinette with a blanket over him. He loves being outside and didn’t complain once while we were out. So, I went to change his diaper when we got home, and I will be honest to my shock… the poor baby was FROZEN. His little hands and legs and arms were so cold. This week, I totally deserve the bad mom award. Clearly the memo on weather appropriate gear got deleted from my inbox.

Never one to complain about needing to shop, I immediately began a search for appropriate seasonal clothing for a 4 month old. I have seen snowsuits practically everywhere, but I have had this warning my dad gave me about snowsuits being unsafe in car seats in the back of my head which has prevented me from really doing anything about it.

So what do you wear on a child if they can’t be in a snowsuit?  Another piece of honesty...ever since I was told to do keegals and didn’t (and now am suffering the consequences), I heed professional recommendations. And the ministry of transportation has a lot to say on the matter.

So basically Transport Canada describes the issue as;
“ bulky coats, snowsuits and bunting bags cause safety issues ranging from inducing slack in the shoulder harness system to adding compressible material behind the child, which during a crash will allow for slackness in the harness system. The resulting slack in the harness may cause the child to be either partially or fully ejected from the restraint system, in the event of a crash or sudden stop.”

So, how am I supposed to know if the gear I have bought my child is safe?   Here is a trick that has been shared with me to show you how thick your coat is and how much the coat will compress during a crash.
  1. Take the car seat into the house.
  2. Put the winter coat or snowsuit on the child.
  3. Put the child in the car seat and buckle the harnesses as you normally would before car travel. Adjust the straps to the appropriate fit for your child.
  4. Take the child out of the car seat without loosening the straps at all.
  5. Take the coat off your child.
  6. Put the child back in the car seat and buckle the harnesses again, but do not tighten the straps.
  7. If you can fit more than two fingers under the harness at the child's shoulder bone, the coat is too thick and is not safe for use with the car seat.
So… this super rad jacket from H&M – is a no go. Darn.

This, not so rad but warm bunting bag from MEC, is a go.

So we’re ready. Let the snow fly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mom & Baby Milestones

So, today was our last mommy/baby class, well the one organized by Toronto Public Health. I can't believe 6 weeks has gone by so quickly. Well I can't believe almost 4 months has gone by, but I will save that for another post.   I remember being so worried about the first class, and to be honest, just getting out the door back then was still a challenge.  All in all, I am really glad I went. It has been so great connecting with other moms who have babies of a similar age, finding out about resources in my neighborhood and also getting answers to my endless list of mommy questions. Or at the very least hearing what other moms have done/are doing in similar situations.  I think the best part has been just getting out to something regular each week. Wednesdays have had a structure/activity, which has been more helpful than I think I have even realized. So, I think I am going to keep in touch with a few of the moms. We all exchanged a master contact list but I am sure the group will break off into individual smaller groups. So today was graduation day. We celebrated with foot prints, certificates, and cheese/crackers and juice.

The moms I will likely keep in touch with are the group who mentioned it was too bad we forgot the wine.

So now what?  Well... we're starting a music class, that's what.  Peter and I signed Rory up for a music program for babies called Musical Munchkins. Music is supposed to be good for a child's emotional. social and intellectual growth. And, the program sort of promises your kid will be a little Beethoven upon completion, so whats to lose?  kidding.  But it's something to do until xmas, and then we start Diaper Fit in January which is the baby/caregiver swimming class I have been dying to start.

So the final topic today in our group was childcare.  The mention of childcare makes my stomach turn for numerous reasons.  Living in a city without grandparents sucks. Plain and simple. And so does endless wait lists at Toronto's limited and expensive day cares. Ugh. Would someone just hire one of us in Ottawa already?

Rory has gone through a stroller graduation too. Bye Bye baby-basinette, hello world in my big boy seat.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Wonder Weeks

So I know I already wrote a happy shining family post today, but I am seizing this rare evening opportunity to tell you about my rather intense day with Rory.

So in Rory's defense off the top, I will share that me sleeping for only a few hours (read - maybe 2 at the most) last night was not his fault. I haven't slept well in two or three weeks. Murphy's Law - My child starts sleeping through the night and I develop some weird sort of mommy-insomnia. Perfect.

So yes, it's not Rory's fault, but it is directly influencing my ability to cope with a very cranky baby (so relevant to this post).   Last night Rory went to bed at 7pm, got up at 330am for 20 minutes and went back down until 630am. This little boy has become a dream sleeper. Apparently I was a really good sleeper when I was Rory's age, so we seem to be winning the sleep battle.  What we're currently trailing in, is daytime playtime. I am not sure what has happened in the last week or two but Rory will not let me out of his sight!  If I put him down to play, he either screams immediately, or he cries within 5 minutes. It's exhausting. Here's the thing... Before this last little while, Rory hardly ever cried hard. If he cries at all, it's always for a reason and Peter and I have it down to a few minutes to settling him. I know. I know. My dad has already told me that I deserved a MUCH more difficult baby.  Peter's amiable personality clearly won the DNA battle in this case. Thank God.

So back to the crankiness. What does a mom do?  I sang, I danced, I rocked, I rolled, I bathed, I fed. And tears. Lots of tears.  Aside from cracking a beer once Rory was in bed, I really was beside myself with answers as to what the change has been?

So I started google-ing.  Honestly, how did people parent before the internet?
So here is what I found.  The Wonder Weeks.  Eight predictable, age-linked leaps in a baby's mental development. And apparently we're right in the middle of a biggie.BINGO.

Here is the publisher's description:"The Wonder Weeks. How to stimulate your baby's mental development and help him turn his 8 predictable, great, fussy phases into magical leaps forward" described in easy-to-understand terms the incredible developmental changes that all babies go through during the first 60 weeks of their lives.

The book is based on the discovery of a little known phenomenon: all normal, healthy babies appear to be more tearful, troublesome, demanding and clingy at very nearly the same ages.

These age-related fluctuations in need for body contact and attention are related to major and quite dramatic changes in the brains of the children. These changes enable a baby to enter a whole new perceptual world and, as a consequence, to learn many new skills. This should be a reason for celebration, but as far as the baby is concerned these changes are bewildering. He's taken aback-everything has changed overnight. It is as if he has woken up on a strange planet"

Again, what did mothers do before the internet? So, the 4 month mark appears to be a big one in many development areas, not to mention more needles on Thursday of this week. So... the plan is just for Rory and I to continue to hug it out over the next couple of weeks and hope his daytime fussy periods come to the same dramatic conclusion as they began.

Until then, I am amazons new favourite customer.


The Wonder/Wander - First Anniversary

One year... in many ways it seems like much longer than a year (like this morning when I am sure I only slept a few hours last night). But in so many other ways, it feels like the quickest (and busiest) year of my life. In any case, we had a wonderful first anniversary, wandering the city as a family and soaking up as much of this amazing fall weather as possible.

Saturday we had family pictures taken here at our house and down the street at a park by photographer/friend Heather Lynch. It will be fun to compare pictures taken EXACTLY one year apart once we get to see them! We then ventured out for our very first experiment with Rory in a restaurant at dinner time (read - his fussy time).  To our enjoyment, and let's be honest... to our SHOCK, Rory was a total dream at dinner. Maybe we tuckered the little guy out taking pictures all afternoon... whatever the case, he drank a bottle and then we sat him in his stroller and turned around minutes later and he was SLEEPING!!  And it didn't end there, we came home, bathed him and he slept from 8pm to 6am and then got up and ate and cuddled back in our bed to sleep until 930am!  I truly believe it was his anniversary present to us.

My camera was without batteries for most of the weekend so we didn't get any pictures from yesterday, but I did charge it in time to grab some shots of our late evening dinner celebration last night. It took us one year to start (mistakeningly) dressing alike, so we're calling it our plaid anniversary.

I recently have been wondering what my intention is with this blog. Should I continue, should I end it now?  I don't really have a theme or a point other than to ramble about my life and my little family, but given my hits, some of you apparently find that interesting.  Anyway, I found my solution! You can make a blog into a book! On Rory's first birthday, I am going to bind up this blog  into a little book of memories and give it to him as a keepsake.  Maybe then, I will have figured out my mat leave million dollar idea to take up all my extra time.


Friday, October 15, 2010

What a year can make....

One year ago today Peter and I were up in Prince Edward County at the little cottage we had rented with my family freezing our asses off (the furnace wasn't working haha).  We were beyond excited for the arrival of the rest of our loved ones, and of course for our wedding day.   I remember carefully choosing the play list for the road trip to the county, and taking pictures like this one...

so I could look back and fondly remember those moments, and also remember the way Peter held my hand while he drove for almost the entire trip up there.  Looking back, there is not a single thing I would have changed about our wedding weekend. It was perfect.

What a year it has been... a wedding, a honeymoon, a pregnancy, a first house purchase, a first house renovation, a move (not a first), and then the arrival of Rory and the beginning of our family. If you blinked this year, you missed something major in our lives.

So what hasn't changed in a year?
Well really the only important ones are; how much I love my husband hasn't changed, and the commitment that I will give my time to him and our family for as long as I have never will.

Our first dance on our wedding night, was to a song written by a wonderful lifetime friend of ours who stood for us on our wedding day, and now a year later, is Rory's god father. Adam Puddington.

As he so poetically has written, All I have is time.

Have a listen.