Saturday, March 24, 2012

Things to do with your Toddler while Nursing

I have heard of moms successfully creating a "nursing bin" filled with special toys for the toddler during nursing time. Rylyn is learning to share "mommy" and sometimes does not want to play on her own while I have to nurse Addisyn. I like the nursing bin idea, however, we already cycle Rylyn's toys, so I am not convinced the toys would stay special (every three hours...every day). Instead, I have decided to compose a list, a virtual bin so to speak, of activities. As Rylyn will be a late walker, she also is still developing the independence to play for sustained periods of time on her own. Activities that allow for interaction with her while nursing are important for when she won't play on her own.

My teacher hat has come in handy here. In what meaningful activities can I engage my toddler while I am nursing? The teacher question would be, in what meaningful activities can I engage the rest of my class while I am working with small groups of students? I do this everyday with almost 30 middle school students. It should be a piece of cake with one toddler...(insert sarcastic comment of your choice here). I am no expert as I have only been at this for a couple of weeks, with a husband home to help. Hopefully sharing my experience will give someone out there an idea or at least a laugh.

Feel free to add any ideas of your own in the comment section below. Remember to get any materials you need before you sit down. Here is our list:

1. Read. You can read to your toddler and have him or her read to you. 3 or 4 books will do. We like to reread books several times. The first time through we may just look at the pictures, the next time reading the words, the time after that identifying animals or get the gist.

2. Sing. I like body part songs: we can point out Addisyn's body parts together too. Head and Shoulders, Toe Knee Chest Nut, Round and Round the Garden, Three Little Piggies...etc.

3. Share a snack. Finger foods like cheese and crackers or fruit are some of our choices. We keep it simple like Goldfish crackers or a banana. An empty bowl and spoon are fun practice for Rylyn too. We like to sing, "Making a Purple Stew."

4. Get down and play. No one said you have to nurse on the sofa or bed. Blocks or Lego-like blocks are a choice we like.

5. A novel object. Permission to play with something that is a treat rather than a part of the everyday routine.   Rylyn likes the following: measuring tape, nail clippers, Addisyn's bottle of D-Drops, a cell phone or camera.

6. Watch your favourite show together. Well, not Grey's Anatomy. So not yours, your toddler's. We are fans of Netflix and PVR. No commercials, which decreases your TV time and you can watch what you want, when you want to. In moderation, we find TV helps both a tired toddler and mom rather than harms. Discussion and questions turn "tube" time in to quality time. We like Elmo's World and The Wiggles.

Most of the activities above help Rylyn transition to independent play. The last activity is our "when nothing else works" strategy.

7. Time out. We have already had some nursing tantrums. Rylyn is jealous because she does not want to share mommy. Overall, Rylyn has transitioned to big sister well...she loves Addisyn. She is still learning to share mommy.

Rylyn helping mommy upload blog photos
Our Time Out Plan
Ignore whining as long as possible (ignoring the behaviour asking for attention sometimes stops it). If the whining escalates say "stop." If whining continues or screaming starts, nursing gets put on a brief hold while I follow a time out routine, unless daddy is home, he does the "time out."

I take Rylyn to her room, sit her on her chair and say "Stop or Time out" and point to the crib for "Time out." If she deescalates, no time out and a big hug for reward. If she escalates again when I put her down to start nursing, I say "Stop or Time out" and put her in the crib if a tantrum persists. The time out is no more than 5 minutes. Short and with the light on, so as not to have negative impact on the place where she sleeps so well.

I wipe her tears with a warm face cloth after 5 minutes and hug her whether she has stopped crying or not. The warm cloth usually stops her crying. The hug is the reinforcement for any movement toward deescalating the tantrum as well as to help her feel secure with those strong emotions with which she does not know how to deal. Our goal is to reinforce the behaviors we want to see not the whining or tantrums.

I find Addisyn has received enough milk before the tantrum starts to be satisfied and easily finishes during a time out if necessary. Placing Rylyn on a time out only takes a minute...just longer to describe. Chris and I are using this strategy for other tantrums too. When out and about our plan is to use a playpen or sit with her in the car. The plans may evolve, but having them keeps us cool in the heat of the is no help if we  throw a tantrum too.

We are trying to parent with clear boundaries, but also with the balance of observing our children's cues (since they are not adept communicators). When I am frustrated I sing Rolling Stones when I hug Rylyn after a time out, "You can't always get what you want...but if you try sometimes well you might find, you get what you need."

Bible Reflections:
But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. John 8:15

-Lord, help me to bear my fruit with patience and may the teaching and discipline we provide as parents fall on good ground.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No Room at the Inn

Photo courtesy of J. Crans

Addisyn Lorelei Dalgleish
Born March 7, 2012 - 10:58 am
8 lbs, 8oz, 21"

Disclaimer: not graphic or gory, but it does tell the story!

March 6, Midnight - Contraction begin. 10 minutes apart. Nothing to be excited about.

March 6, 6 am - Notify husband and sister they are on call. It could be could be later this week.

March 6, Daytime - Chase 14 month old around Early Years Centre all afternoon, while catching up with some friends. Walked there and home. Able to ignore contractions, was hoping to get them going.

March 6, Nighttime - No change in contractions. One Tylenol, one Gravol, bed.

March 7, 4 am - Woken by contractions.

March 7, 5 am - Can no longer ignore contractions. i.e. Can't watch TV. Time to call Laura and midwives.

-Midwife on call is on her way to a home birth (the woman was ready to push).
-Another midwife phones, she is on clinic duty this week. She plans to cover off the on call midwife until she available. Except...
-West Lincoln Memorial Hospital is full. There are no beds available. They are cancelling scheduled C-sections. I feel like Mary.
-My options: home birth with WLMH on stand-by or St. Catharine's General.
-We had discussed the possibility of a home birth in this scenario (although unlikely) or if my active labour was faster than with Rylyn.
-My choice: "I am not sitting in a car for 40 minutes with these contractions to birth at the General."
-We have nothing "ready" for a home birth (although I do know I have everything on the list).
-Our clinic midwife must drive to the clinic to pick up a home birth kit and anti-biotics before coming to our home.

March 7, 6:30 am - Call Grandmas and send Rylyn off with Gramma Cheryl. Boss Chris and Laura around between contractions: Move the car in case we need an ambulance. Change sheets on the bed. Gather towels.

Time starts to blur - Our clinic midwife arrives and prepares the room and my anti-biotics.
-I am 4 cm and not in active labour (IMO, I am not in "transition," but am in active labour).
-Laura and Chris counter pressure my contractions on my back, I am hands and knees on an exercise ball and we laugh in between.
-Around 9 am? Our on call midwife arrives and debriefs. I overhear, "When her water breaks, I think she is just going to go."
-I walk.
-Contractions begin to change.
-"Grapefruit." I say.
-We check. Blood.
-Around 10 am? Another intense one.
-"Flow." I say.
-We check. My water has broken.
-No more laughing. Focus. I think of Rylyn when the contractions are intense. Not baby Rylyn, but the wonderful child she is today.
-As Laura and Chris remind me I can do it and that breaks are coming, I think of Rylyn and not only that I can do it, but that "they" are worth it.
-A few more "right-through-you" contractions and I feel pressure. "Pressure."
-"Is is a watermelon?" The midwife chides. She understands both my communication system and need for comic relief.
-"Yes." I reply.
-I am paralyzed, leaning on my bed and breathing.
-Once I am able get on the bed, because my legs are too tired from standing, I am ready to push.

March 7, 10:58 am - Chris catches the baby and cuts the cord.
-We adore a baby who is barely whimpering but breathing well.

-They tell me baby is a she.
-"Are you sure it is a girl?" I ask as she is covered in vernix and she is snuggled in a way that I can see no "parts."
-I look at Chris, he is taking his time with the name and wants to make sure it fits. "Addisyn Lorelei."
-Addisyn meaning "Son of Adam" and Lorelei after our sisters Laura and Lori meaning "melody."
-Laura and Chris go off to start texting the world.
-I look at the world in my arms. Addy.

"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." - Psalm 139:14a

-Thank you God for the safe delivery our daughter Addy in the peace, quiet and privacy of our home.

First picture

Our new addition

With Auntie Laura

"I love her..."

Getting weighed, back up to birth weight within a week

Girls, Pizza Pizza and Sesame Street

Monday, March 5, 2012

Combatting Cabin Fever: Fun and One

Winter time and colder weather can bring cabin fever for both parents and children. I wrote a past entry on getting out in the winter. This entry is on staying in and staying occupied. Here are some activities our family has recently enjoyed to help keep away the winter blues (and teething crankies).

Practising "in and out" with circle cutouts and car trunk.
1) A "new", versatile toy: I went to a Mom2Mom sale and picked up a car/walker for $5 (pictured right). Rylyn needs practise walking and I liked that the toy turned into a car too. The trunk feature was a hidden bonus and has provided hours of "in and out" practise. We are not an "inundated-with-toys-family" (yet) and for a larger toy, this one was multi-purpose and cost me less than a Happy Meal.

2) Toy and Book Cycling: We have one closet that contains Rylyn's toys and books and have been abiding by the "one basket rule" so they do not take over our small living space. The "one basket rule" is one laundry tub of toys out a time. We have been changing the tub biweekly which has kept Rylyn's interest in them fresh.

3) Punch and Play: As a scrapbooker, I have a variety of punches. Rylyn loves circles right now (that is strange to write, but it is true)! We punched out circles together. She put them in and out of the car trunk and stacked them. I placed the circles on her head, let her shake them off and made letters on the carpet with them.

Raining cutouts mom placed on my head.

4) I have printed and posted the toddler calendar on the fridge for a new idea to insert into our day here and there. Chris, Rylyn, "bump" and I went on an outing to the Bulk Barn today. Chris bought $20 worth of candy for himself. I found pre-packaged green icing for 25 cents. I thought of picking it up because there was an activity using green icing on the calendar for St. Patty's Day (decorating cookies). We may just finger paint with it instead.  Another activity I hope to do this week (pending arrival of baby #2 of course) is going to the library and finding a book on wind.

I hope these few ideas provide someone else with some inspiration. Feel free to share your favourite indoor winter activities below.

Practising my walking skills...why can't you just carry me?
My new car walker...I like driving better than walking.

Bible Reflections:

"For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil."
-Ecclesiastes 12:14

-The New Testament tells us that Jesus redeems our evil works so I don't look at this passage as a fear-invoking one. Rather it reminds me that all my works, when combined with faith, are purposed to bring God glory. He sees all we do: the great and small. Even the small things, like punching out circles with a one-year-old, can bring Him glory.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Joy of Waiting

I thought my next entry would be a birth announcement. Instead I find it a way to tire myself at 2:30 am to go back to sleep after being up with a teething one-year old, frustrated husband and to be perfectly honest, probably out-of-whack hormones. I have spent some time in prayer tonight and I have emailed a friend. Although these two events may seem mutually exclusive, they are actually the inspiration for this entry and the wisdom bestowed upon me tonight.

My students at school tell me I should upgrade my pay-as-you-go, outdated cell phone. I tell them someone has to stay in the dark ages in the phone department and it might as well be me. I only use it for emergencies.

I am ONE full day past my due date. I have to preface every phone call I make with, "Hi, I'm not in labour." Chris, who is far more tech savvy than I, gets multiple texts a day asking about the baby's pending arrival. I get inquisitive emails and Facebook messages to which I politely respond. You would think this baby was a month overdue or we were trying to hide that it has been born. I am definitely not upgrading my cell phone. It is far too easy for our instantaneous "want now, get now" modern lifestyle (that such technology endorses) to rob us of the fruits of the spirit and tempt us away from trusting God.

Galatians 5:22-26
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

I am I eager for this baby to be born? Yes. But, I need to thank God for the joy of waiting. My favourite time of year is advent. The anticipation of Christmas. Mary's anticipation of Jesus. I feel like I have been waiting long because Rylyn was born at 38 weeks and I am now 40 weeks. I have only begun to enjoy the waiting and disregard the hidden pressure.

Baby will come in God's time. Until then, I will rest in the joy that comes with anticipation. That joy is found when I get a landline phone message from my aunt that says, "Don't call me back, I know I'll hear the news when it arrives, but I wanted you know I was thinking of you today." That joy is found in an email I send a friend to thank her for being there and waiting with me. And soon, that joy of waiting will be replaced with the joy of arrival.