Second child: What schedule??

With our first child we were a bit strict about keeping a consistent routine and sleep schedule. We knew we were being a bit manic but with your first kid, there are so many unknowns and you want to feel control over something! While we may have been a bit over the top at times, it worked in our favor. Lena had always been an excellent sleeper and handles transition very well. We moved house, put her in a big girl bed and added a baby sister with almost no fuss. Who does that?!

With our second, things have naturally been a bit more chaotic. Naps aren’t always at the same times and more often than not, they’re taken on the run while life goes on with big sis. That said, we have a pretty good routine despite all the disruptions. So far, Maggie is doing great but she’s nowhere near as consistent a sleeper as her big sister. We are still struggling with night wakings that have no rhyme or reason. Two teeth and various winter sniffles have played a large role in this so we are holding out hope for some future changes.

I actually went back and read some of my old posts about teething, feeding and scheduling. Most of this still holds true! One big bonus is both girls go to bed by 7 pm. At least we still manage to get a little adult time before the day is through!

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Finding time to eat better

It’s amazing how you look back at life before one child and think, “What did I do with my day?!” Well, the feeling grows exponentially with the second!

With our first, we were both working full time and our evening routine consisted of rushing in the door, throwing together kid good, getting said kid washed and into bed, scarfing down something vaguely food related and collapsing into bed. The second time around I was determined to avoid this. I’m an organized person. Really, I am. Sudden changes to routine send me into a tailspin. Ask my husband how many times I check with him to be sure he’s picking up the kids! Changes to the routine equals bouts of anxiety quickly escalating into panic. Seriously, don’t mess.

Over the past three months of maternity leave I felt like I gained a lot of traction in organizing our lives. It was complete chaos most of the time but the last few weeks we had full cupboards, healthy meals (albeit from a relatively limited menu) and clean clothes the vast majority of the time. I remembered why I enjoy cooking so much and took pride in our new house , actually having time to keep up with most (ok, some) chores. Facing the end of leave, I was living in abject fear. Let’s just say I have a hard time giving up control. There, I said it.

I couldn’t fathom spending one minute away from my not-so-tiny babe and my precocious two-year-old, let alone commuting for the first time in two years. Anxiety induced paranoia? Check. Floods of tears? Check. Begging to stay home even though I knew I’d be miserable and it would be fiscally impossible? Check. Week two and I’m totally better. I didn’t actually burst into tears upon leaving my kids in the hands of my mother, who lives roughly three minutes from work and feeds me lunch (when I stop in to check on the kids) while also delivering said kids to my doorstep at least once during the day. Yep, SO much better. You get the picture.

Anyway, one way we have introduced some sense of sanity (because clearly I have none) is through a nifty service we saw online and decided to give a whirl. Blue Apron is a game changer. Not only do they deliver delicious and easy recipes to your door, they’re healthy too! What’s better than fresh ingredients and fun recipes that encourage you to try new things?

Also, they’ve recently upgraded their menus so now you can more accurately select the types of foods you enjoy and opt out of foods you don’t eat. Can it get any easier?

Ok, so it might be slightly more expensive than your average home cooked meal but I believe you make up for that in lack of waste. I mean, how often do you need a head of red cabbage or an entire jicama? Most of the ingredients are readily found in most grocery stores so if we like a recipe we just buy the basic ingredients and recreate it on our own.

So now, three nights a week we have meals planned. We wing the rest but have rediscovered our love of cooking. New ingredients, new recipes…and it’s relatively brainless time we can spend together when we are burnt out at the end of a long day. We just have some fun and eat a great meal, together. Hard to pass that up!

A few of our favorites:
Kumquat lime glaze over chicken with a side of freekah with Brussel sprouts, mint and almonds.

Chicken potstickers.

Shortrib burger on a pretzel bun with sweet potato chips.

Turkey with lemon caper sauce over mashed potato and roasted broccoli.


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A day in the life…

Or maybe just a morning!

We actually managed to get dressed upstairs today, only because the toddler had wet through her pull-up and we had to change out of pajamas. At least we managed to roll that into some straightening up of our rooms but mostly because we had to change all the linens. Dressed beds, exciting!

We even managed a few more chores while the babe took a short nap. Laundry time is a blast. Especially when soaking poop stained clothes. Fingers crossed the stains come out! It’s only the fourth, epic poop explosion of the week.

Next up was story time while I fed the babe. Pleas for TV went unrewarded. We don’t let her watch that much, I swear! Why does she ask constantly?!


Time to tease the babe! She doesn’t seem amused.


Little mommy had to mimic everything baby sis was doing…


…including tummy time.


During babe’s nap we decided to make cookies (after a clean up session, where did all these toys come from??), friends are visiting tomorrow!


Best part is eating the ingredients of course.


Lunch was a success until we had a disagreement over what type of crackers were on offer. Fortunately, that resolved without real tears.


Real tears erupted when I refused more crackers…off to bed!


Toddler down and baby up, is there room under there for me?


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February 28, 2014 · 1:02 pm

Pumping revisited.

Ok, so here are my two cents. I’ll start by mentioning that my methods were far from scientific and no efforts were taken to standardize the results.

Manual vs. electric pump

Old faithful: the annoying, yet consistent old electric pump is a workhorse and on child #2 is still holding it’s own. Mine is a Modela pump in style advanced that costs about $299.

Pros: fairly effortless operate, needs very little supervision, can be hands free with the right accessories.

Cons: the awful noise!, it’s size and bulkiness, set up is time consuming, not exactly discrete at the office, makes me feel like a milk cow tethered to a milking station. The cost!

The contender: a Lansinoh manual pump that retails for about $29.99.

Pros: extremely portable, quick to trigger let down reflex, more natural rhythm, virtually silent, mobile if necessary.

Cons: needs a bit of attention, not quite as effective unless you’re fairly full.

I used both pumps over the last few days and had a pretty consistent nursing schedule. I found that for day time pumping the manual is far superior. Having a toddler and a 3 month old, I wasn’t tied down (yes, I have curtains and no neighbors were scandalized during this process!) and I could express pretty quickly and get on with my day. These times I was only expressing from one side at a sitting so it was really manageable. In the evenings when I wanted to express both sides and express a larger quantity before bed, the electric pump won out purely for speed and the ability to express both at once.

The manual pump has a little bit of a learning curve in finding the right methods for you. However, once you get it right I found it was much faster than the electric. When I head back to work I’ll definitely be using the manual pump at the office and reserve the electric pump for home use. Hopefully this will help streamline the process!

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Baby poop debacle.

We have officially reached the diaper blowout stage. No solid foods have been introduced yet so we are blessed with the over so lovely mustard poop that stains everything!

I’ve tossed a few outfits and lived with many a stain in my day but after a week of eruptions, even after upping the diaper size and liberally applying stain remover to no avail…something had to give. The consensus of online research seemed to say that an overnight soak in Oxiclean and a regular wash with your favorite detergent should do the trick.

We’ve had plenty of practice and I’d add a few tips. Try to rinse off as much debris as possible before soaking. Also, try to avoid letting the offending stain set in by soaking as soon as possible. I’ve gone as long as 24-36 hours before soaking so far and have still had success.

Here’s hoping we manage to preserve a few more outfits!

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I prefer, circularly challenged.

Just when you hit your stride and begin to see light in your exhaustion filled days. During your triumphant visit to the pediatrician to report a decent nights sleep you get the dreaded news…your baby has developed flat head! Good sleepers are prone to flat head, go figure.

The good news is that despite your inevitable incessant worrying, most cases resolve themselves on their own. It’s essentially a cosmetic problem and as the baby spends more time upright or on their belly, the head gradually returns to a more rounded shape. In many cases, the worry is more about the muscles on one side of the neck losing flexibility because of the tendency to turn a certain direction.

The bad news is that despite having myriad sources tell you this information, you’ll probably spend hours examining your baby’s head from every angle. You mean it’s not normal to take weekly pictures of the top of your child’s head? Hmm. How about obsessively using sleep positioners to angle her to sleep facing the opposite of her favored direction?

Let’s just say we are improving but we are not out of the woods yet!

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And then there were two.

Looking back, it’s almost impossible to remember life before one child, let alone two. Yet, I can vividly remember thinking…”What did I do with my time before having Lena?” I mean, really. How did I ever think I was busy?

I think you get the same sensation in triplicate when you have a second child. I can’t even fathom what a third must be like. It took is quite some time to come to terms with having a second child. Lena was our baby, out first. Life was pretty full and she seemed so small. Even after a year, the thought of her being a big sister seemed alien. Regardless of the fact that she was constantly mistaken for a three year old, she just seemed too tiny!

And then, the fateful day arrived and Maggie was born. Suddenly, Lena seems enormous! How did we ever think she was a baby? Did she grow six inches overnight?? Impossibly, inexplicably your love grew to encompass both children in an even more profound way. Every moment becomes that much more precious because you now know just how fleeting it all is. Your new parent woes seem trivial and yet some come to light with even more intensity than ever before.

Life is full of triumphs and frustrations made all the more poignant by a new level of exhaustion. Yet, the sweetest rewards are all the more intense for having been hard won. A day, a week, a month goes by in a series of blinding flashbulbs that quickly fade into obscurity.

Keep your cameras at the ready because you haven’t a hope of remembering a thing about this wild ride otherwise.

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