Friday, February 22, 2013

Lessons of a Father, #1

Rather than use my own words, I'd like to share the thoughts of our own generations Shakespeare.

Lessons of a Mother, #1

Freyja likes standing while playing! 
I'm not perfect. I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but I'm not! As for most people, I will always have many things on which I can improve. Even though this is nothing new, now that I am a mother I feel a new-found sense of responsibility. I want to set an example for Freyja, showing her positive ways to react in a not-always-so-positive world. 
I'm sure people without children also feel this sense of importance regarding the example they set, but for me it was after I had Freyja that I felt a stronger pull to polish my character and figure out my values. 

Before Freyja was born, I was easily annoyed at some of the other drivers on the road. While I never usually let the anger fester during the day, I still think I reacted too strongly. My hand was quick to hit the horn and I became cynical, figuring I would mostly encounter apathetic and aloof drivers on my commute. Now I try to minimize my reaction and simply expect incompetence. When the car cuts me off on the highway, I don't mutter a name or swear under my breath. 

She gets very focused :)
Another change since Freyja was born is that I have become much less curious and judgmental about why people do the things that they do. If it's not hurting anyone else, it's not usually worth me worrying about. If I have a difficult time seeing where someone is coming from, I have more tolerance, patience, and can accept that some things just don't make sense. Even though I once thought I might do something a certain way--like always wear a cover while breastfeeding in public--my experience changes my thoughts. For example, I now better understand the woman I saw last year at Starbucks who was breastfeeding without a cover. A cover can get hot, is one more thing to carry around, is not necessarily liked by the baby while feeding, and draws even more attention. If I now encountered a woman exposing her breast in public to feed her child, I would likely think of her as practical. The child is feeds the child...the child doesn't want to be covered. It's as simple as that. 

She just needs a little support...
The next time I am at a store and see a child throwing a tantrum or a mother acting impatient with her child, I will not judge but instead say a little prayer and remember that the mother is doing her best and she can't control her child. She can teach and guide and attempt to enforce rules, but even the most well-behaved children can stubbornly assert their independence. 

I do believe that almost everyone is trying their best...and usually that is good enough. Sometimes people face barriers like mental health, depression, financial struggles, and even bad luck. As humans it is natural to compare ourselves to others, but we shouldn't be so quick to assume we know why people act the way they do or that they are "wrong" & we are "right." I catch myself slipping into an old habit at times, but quickly remind myself that it isn't usually worth it to get upset. I want to be a good role model for Freyja in the many years to come!

My little girl is getting so big!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

6-month Edition of "Fifty Fun Facts about Freyja"

Nick and I compiled this list on our way up to du Nord near Ely, MN this past weekend, on
February 15 when Freyja turned 6 months old! It's a longer update (50 facts!), definitely written mostly
for my own memory--but I've also included some lovely pictures this time, with an awesome family photo at the end!

On drive home from du Nord
Group photo at Du Nord

1. She puts anything and everything in her mouth, including her toes.
Some days it seems like her gums are uncomfortable and she drools
more, but we haven't seen any teeth poke through yet!

2. Weight 14.2 lbs today (with clothes)--updated 2/20/13 at 6-month appointment:
*weight 14.0 lbs (without clothes) = 12th percentile (she used to be below the
1st percentile, so this is exciting!)
*length/height: 25.5 inches = 32nd percentile (she has fluctuated between 
10-32nd percentile)
*head circumference: 16.1 inches = 14th percentile (always been between 
8-14th percentile)
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3. She enjoys banging her hands on books and toys.

4. She likes listening to music and mom singing (even if I can't
remember all the words to a song or have a small repertoire of songs I
have memorized!). Sometimes I make up silly songs too.

5. She has yet to roll from back to front...but rolls on her side and
reaches for toys.

6. In the past month she has developed a cute little giggle.

7. She can get a very serious look on her face when she is playing
with toys. She is more likely to smile when someone is talking with
her than when she is just playing by herself.

8. Recently she has been taking off her glasses very frequently during
the day. Once when she was upset she threw the glasses across the room
at daycare!

9. She mainly only cries when she is hungry at daycare. At home, she
rarely cries for more than a few minutes (usually soothed by eating
and/or rocking). Times that she has cried for more than a few minutes
include a few rides to daycare in the morning, Christmas Eve after the
church service, and a few evenings when she is over-tired and hungry
at the same time.
Making noise with the books

10. She doesn't rely on the pacifier as much. She usually just uses it
when tired or sleeping, and occasionally when in the car seat.

11. If she is holding on to something she can support her weight
pretty well, but is not well-balanced.

12. She is not yet sitting up on her own, but getting closer.

13. She will sleep in her crib occasionally, but still sleeps most
nights in the bassinet next to our bed for convenience (I sleep
better...otherwise, I don't wake up till she is crying over the
monitor and it takes longer to go back to sleep).
Mama, Freyja, aunt Michelle, Grandpa Randy

14. Most mornings she has a blow out before 8 am, which often happens
between leaving home and getting to daycare (or soon after) and needs
a change of clothes. This has happened with all types of diapers
(different brands, and both cloth and disposable).

15. We used disposable diapers in the beginning, then switched to
cloth. She outgrew those cloth diapers, and since we were gifted a
large box of size one diapers, we are using them before she outgrows
them soon! Then we will switch back to mainly using cloth.

16. She still only has a little bit of's difficult to tell
the color (Light blond/brown/hint of red?)

Such a big girl!
17. She gets frequent colds at daycare...right when she gets over one,
she gets another one. Frequent colds also lead to coughing spells in
the night and using the snot sucker to clear her nose. She hates it,
but breathes better after and can fall back asleep.

18. She goes to daycare Monday through Friday full time. Drinks four
bottles (about 16 oz). I breastfeed her before leaving the house, then
after getting to daycare she eats her first bottle around 8:30. I feed
her when I pick her up between 5 & 6 pm,

19. She gets about 4 to 6 diaper changes at daycare...she poops a lot!

20. She has been going to bed between 8 & 9 pm. She will sometimes
fall asleep even if she didn't just eat, but usually does best staying
asleep if she just ate. I often get myself ready for bed, then feed
her while I am lying in bed. She then often falls asleep after eating.
She is waking up less frequently at night, except when sick. She
breastfeeds about once or twice between 9 pm & 6 am and eats for about
8-15 minutes (if she is sleepy it takes longer).

21. I don't fall asleep with her in my arms as much, which is a sign I
am less sleep deprived! I have been going to bed between 9 & 10 most
nights. It has been harder for Nick to go to bed as early. I still
miss getting longer stretches of sleep. The longest stretch I can
First time in exersaucer
remember recently was from 10:30 pm to 4 am.

22. She stood in the "exersaucer" for the first time.

23. I'm not sure when in the past 6 weeks but I started carrying her
on my hip rather than the cradle hold.

24. She has tried banana and applesauce.

25. We started mixing her thyroid medication in a spoonful of
applesauce in the past week. We have forgotten her medication a few
times since I returned to work in November.

26. We get busy and don't give her a bath often...but wipes do a good
job between baths.

27. She takes cat naps at daycare...rarely sleeps for more than 45 to
60 minutes. She had been having a hard time sleeping in her crib
(waking up when she got laid down), but seems to be getting better.
Her longest nap at daycare is two hours, which she does about once
every 1 to 2 weeks. She used to nap everyday around 6/6:30 pm but now
doesn't always nap after daycare & before bedtime. however, sometimes
she sleeps stripping 7:30 in my arms when I am watching TV....

Reading with daddy
28. She usually doesn't like to play very long between 6 & 7:30...and
if she is playing, she prefers to be held. She lasts about 10 minutes
in the highchair or on the play mat after 6 pm.

29. She likes to babble and likes it when we talk with her and make
noises. She has made sounds that resemble words ("dada", "hi") but is
just mimicking and isn't saying words yet.Sometimes she sticks out her
tongue and does the sounds "lala" or acts like she is having a
conversation. Very cute!
Sunday Lunch-February 9, 2013

30. She always seems to be in a good mood when she first wakes up in
the morning. Sometimes this makes it difficult to feed her, since she
just wants to smile and talk to me!

31. She smiles when I pick her up from daycare...but even if she just
ate recently, she still wants to breastfeed when I pick her up.
Mama's girl

32. When she is tired, she either cries or looks very serious or out
of it (& doesn't smile when talked to). She also sometimes rubs at her
eyes (which means knocking off her glasses).

33. Things that resemble Nick: blue eyes, long tongue, facial
expressions/eyebrow raising

34. Things about her that resemble me: fair skinned, petite, cranky
when hungry and likes to eat, small mouth, active.

35. The daycare says she can be stubborn...not sure yet who she got
that from...;)

36. Sleeps not swaddled but in sleep sack.

37. She uses the Nuk brand bottles/nipples. Since this is what worked
after such a long time of refusing the bottle, we haven't tried a
Looking at the book her pediatrician gave her!
different brand (I'm too scared to try anything else)

38. She has outgrown 3 month sleepers but can still wear a few 3 month
onesies...but they are getting snug in length and only fit if she is
wearing a disposable diaper. She still fits in some 3-month
pants...many are a little short, but some 6 month pants are just
slightly long. She is still petite!

39. She is on the growth curve for weight...we will find out more
stats at the 6 month appointment next week.

40. She can turn to look when someone says her name, and notices her
environment more. For example, she notices our dog Gasthof. She
doesn't seem to mind when he licks her.

41. She is starting to like baths more if she isn't too tired.

42. She is busy busy busy! It is hard to get good pictures because she
doesn't stay still or hold her gaze for long!

43. She likes a variety of toys and has a 1- to 2-book attention span.

44. When we first have company over she usually is quiet and takes it
all in, then she starts talking/babbling. She is her mother's
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45. She can be efficient at breastfeeding, but sometimes gets distracted when 
eating or doesn't eat as well if she is cranky. She still does better on the right side 
than the left. Thankfully pumping is going ok and she is eating mostly
breast milk with a few ounces of formula (between 2-6 oz/day of
formula) as a supplement when my supply decreased when I was sick.

46. Freyja doesn't mind having Gasthof lick her hands or feet.

47. She usually takes her first nap about two hours after being awake; at daycare 
she often falls asleep after her first bottle.

48. She sometimes falls back asleep in her crib or can be set down tired but not 
fully asleep...but usually just if she has a full stomach!

49. She finally has more baby fat...her cheeks are rounder and she finally has
fat on her thighs! :) her legs were so skinny for so long, and it's nice she has put on weight!

50. She has a family who loves her so much & looks forward to seeing more of her personality
develop in the years to come :)
A rare family photo! Mama, Freyja, Papa (just missing our dog Gasthof)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Freyja will be 6 months old tomorrow! It's no shock that time has gone by quickly, especially since returning to work full time in November. In the past week Freyja has tried some applesauce and a small taste of banana, but we plan to work on her getting used to food more in the weeks to come. Nick and I had a nasty stomach bug last week, but thankfully Freyja did not get sick. I even ended up going to urgent care on Friday, which was helpful. Because of the illness I didn't produce as much milk that week, so we did buy some formula to supplement along with the breastmilk. Freyja was a little skeptical of it at first, according to the daycare provider, but she tolerated it. I know that formula works great for many babies, I just happen to really enjoy being able to breasfeed her and it was stressful when my milk supply decreased. Stress can then decrease supply even more--so I did my best not to worry too much. I talked with Freyja's pediatrician, who is also a lactation consultant, and she gave me some helpful advice. My supply is almost back to normal!

I had a very nice dinner this week with a friend Laura, who also has a 5-month old daughter.  She also works full time, and it is nice to talk with someone with whom I have a lot in common---because some days, being a new mom can feel isolating. We both are able to breastfeed in public--so it helps having someone else to give me confidence and realize it's not a big deal. At work my breaks are used for pumping, my sleep is frequently interrupted, everything takes longer at home, and a shower is a luxury that I don't get every day! (usually every day, don't worry!) I miss my friends with working full time...but that's a story for another day. It seems like someone is sick in our house every 1-2 weeks, making it hard to plan ahead sometimes!

Freyja loves to play with toys, put anything and everything (including her toes!) in her mouth, and has about a 1- to 2-book attention span. She enjoys banging on books and toys--and even the take-out plastic container from the restaurant. It kept her occupied for 10 minutes!

I am lucky to have a wonderful family and friends and even though my time is limited, I value what time I do have that much more! :)

Well, it's time to finish pumping and get back to work. I figured I would just type a quick update while I had a few minutes! I will have to add pictures soon.