Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Crunchy Mama/AP Pledge


* I pledge to advocate tirelessly on your behalf, from the minute you are born and even before. I will fight off all unnecessary interventions in your pregnancy and birth.

* I pledge to give it my absolute best attempt to breastfeed, calling on lactation consultants, LLL leaders, or yes even Google(!) for help if I'm having trouble.

* I pledge to at least research thoroughly the side affects and risks of vaccinations, antibiotics and other medications before just blindly following common convention.

* I pledge to protect your delicate little body from chemicals & toxins at every possible turn. Wherever humanly possible I will use only organic and natural diapers, baby products, toys, and food.

* I pledge to respond to your cries with tender loving care, not 5 minute intervals.

* I pledge to parent you gently, never shouting or reacting in anger.

* I pledge to nurture your growing brain, reading books with you, playing educational games, going for walks in nature and teaching you everything about the world around us.

* I pledge to make time every single day to play with you and make you laugh because I truly enjoy spending time with you.

* I pledge to love you with all of my heart and always demonstrate it every single day of my life with hugs, kisses and loving words.

* I pledge to fight tirelessly for you no matter what challenges may arise in our lives.

* I pledge to listen to you as you grow older, and always let you have a voice in our family.

Feel free to share throughout the web just please give credit and link back to me @ TheCrunchyGemini!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Letters to Mia: 5 months & Eczema

My Precious Baby Girl:

I literally cannot believe that you are almost 5 months old! It can’t be! I feel so bad for the things that I haven’t done yet – like taking you to Mommy & Me yoga, or to a Gymboree class. I especially feel bad that I never got any newborn photos done other than the hospital photo shoot. But I guess it doesn’t mean I love you any less – it means I am so busy holding you, feeding you, playing with you and loving you that I didn’t have any time to worry about things like that! Just like other chores & errands & cleaning the house gets pushed to the side because you are more important!

I hope someday you will know how much I love you and how much I sacrificed for you. Just ask your Daddy how obsessed I became with your eczema. How badly I wanted to heal you – how I would look at your skin and cry. How I religiously kept your hands covered with little socks so that you wouldn’t scratch yourself – I can say with pride the only scratches you got were under Daddy’s or Grandma’s supervision! I watch you like a hawk because you will take out your little hands and claw at your face until you bleed. Just ask Daddy how fiercely I defended my choice to keep breastfeeding you even though everyone – even Daddy – tried to suggest that maybe formula would be better for you (It wouldn’t be – you are too delicate and your eczema is a sign of that!) Just ask everyone how for 2 straight weeks I ate nothing but fruits & veggies & rice cereal & rice bread even though I was starving and wanted to eat real food so badly but I didn’t want to hurt you. Just ask how I spent nearly every waking minute with my nose in the computer or phone or iPod reading about how to cure your eczema. You still have eczema. You still try to scratch your skin. You still have a red splotchy face. But I have to stop obsessing about it. I’m not going to stop trying to heal you – EVER. I promised that to you and I mean it. But I have to stop obsessing because I am missing your entire babyhood by worrying about it. Days go by with me stressing out about it and suddenly you have gone form 4 months to 5 months. I want to enjoy you and cherish every moment with you. So no more. I will be present with you and play with you and watch you giggle and discover the world around you – despite your eczema and blotchy face. I will give you probiotics & vitamins daily and pray that I can strengthen your body from the inside out. If it continues I will save up money and take you to a naturopath – because the doctor’s don’t always know – and you have to question EVERYTHING in this life – don’t wait for others to solve things for you because they won’t.

If there was one thing your Mommy would like to show you it’s this. Well other things as well - but this is a major one with me! Life is what you make it and whatever you want to do – you can do – just do it. Don’t ever just blindly accept anyone’s recommendations – follow your gut. The allergist said that you weren’t allergic to potatoes and it was rare but I insisted he do the test for potatoes and I was right. The doctors say to vaccinate but you need to question that. You need to research things for yourself. I know that you are much too delicate to handle vaccinations. Most kids are too delicate to handle them but some more than others. Unfortunately you are one half of Mommy’s genes and we need to be careful. I don’t say this to scare you but to remind you – to ALWAYS take care of yourself. This battle with your eczema has taught me that I need to take care of myself more – and you. I need to eat better, take more vitamins, take supplements, and pay attention to the signs that my body gives me – such as being too tired no matter how much sleep I get. I hope as you get older that you will always take care of yourself as well.

I don’t think I will be one of those moms that will NEVER allow cake or ice cream or cookies – but I will be the Mom who packs healthy snacks & lunches – and makes you take a daily vitamin – and makes you spend time in the sun – and makes sure that you never use toxic products or chemicals in or on your body. I will be the Mom who questions the status quo – I will be the Mom who co-sleeps, who doesn’t vaccinate, who wears you sometimes when we go out (you don’t always like it), who pays attention to you, who doesn’t stick you in a crib to CIO, who doesn’t slather you in Johnson's & Johnson's, who doesn’t pump you full of medicine when it’s not necessary, who doesn’t dump you off at daycare, who doesn’t only think about parenting and not about love or friendship. I will be the Mom who makes sure we have fun together – walks in the park, trips to the zoo, music classes together, making art projects at home, cooking together, learning things, reading stories every night. I promise that every day of your childhood will be a wonderful & fun day filled with love, laughter, and smiles.

Things may not always go perfectly and your skin may never be clear but I will try my best to fill your life with joy and love and happiness and wonder. And no matter what arises, I will be your Mom – a very special Mom – because you are a very special child – my beautiful girl – my heart – my Mia! :) I just heard the car meaning that Daddy just brought you home from your visit at Grandma’s and I can’t wait to get you in my arms again and snuggle with my little love bug :) cutie pie! I love you forever little mamas.

Love, Mommy

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My BabyGirl Is 4 Months Old Today!!!!!!!!

Mia is 4 months old today! I can’t believe it! I need to book a photography session soon! Actual several photography sessions, hehehe. And I still want Paola’s photo from when I was 9 months pregnant!!!


Happy Birthday Mia!!!

Things you do now: You have started to squeal a lot more! Instead of crying. You discovered your feet this month and now love to play with them and try to get them to your mouth – especially if you are wearing socks or pants with feet. You love to grab things and pull on my hair and necklace, especially while you are eating. This month you have started really laughing at things that we do. It is totally random – we never know when you are going to start laughing at us! But when you do we keep doing that same thing over & over again like idiots just to get you to laugh some more! You have also rolled over a few times from your front to back, and you twist around now when on your back and get about halfway to rolling over from your back to front.

Your favorite people: When you are upset you mostly still want me to hold you and cheer you up –Daddy tries but usually you just want Mommy! You love Grandma Maria, Grandpa Ubaldo, Uncle Richie, and Aunt Monsie. You love to talk to Grandma Rebecca, Grandma David, and Uncle Kyle via Facetime on Mommy’s iPod.

Your favorite toys: Princess Sophie doll by Lamaze is your favorite toy. You also like your twisty ball and your faces soft baby book. You love to be on your tummy and have just recently started enjoying spending time in your Bumbo seat! You have always loved watching TV.

The Crazy Land of Baby Sleep

Loud noise pumps into the room via speakers. A straight jacket restricts your every movement and 2 hands hold you down against the bed. A gag is shoved into your mouth and held there. Could you sleep like this???

This is just about the only way my 4-month old daughter can fall sleep.

Of course the "loud noise" is white noise. The "straight jacket" is her swaddle and the "gag" is her pacifier. And I am "holding her down" with gentle pressure. I STILL don't think this sounds very comfortable but ah.. Welcome to the crazy world of baby sleep..

If I so much as even move my hand that I have holding down her lower body her legs immediately quiver as I'd she just .. can't .. hold .. back .. the urge to .. Bam! Both legs fly into the air. She must have some type of baby-restless-leg-syndrome, although in her case I think it's more like baby-restless-whole-body-syndrome! When the nurses show you in the hospital how to swaddle wrap your baby pay attention! In our household an unswaddled baby is a wide-awake baby. Of course she needs the velcro swaddleme blankets and still gets out. Little Houdini. Although I don't know why she breaks out because the second she does she's awake and scratching her face, crying, asking to be bound back up again, so I oblige and we all try again.

If I think she is finally in deep sleep mode and try to remove myself delicately, her eyes snap open & she thrashes her head around rapidly from side to side like shes trying to give herself shaken baby syndrome (seriously does anyone else's baby do this? Cuz it freaks me out!) as I silently curse myself for being so impatient - Because how dare I try to remove myself after half-sitting half-standing at the edge of my bed like a flamingo hunched over her cradle for only 10 minutes!

(holy run-on sentence batman!)

I feel like if someone could just invent weighted swaddle wraps & some sort of pacifier holding contraption she could sleep trough the night! Or at least sleep though the evening, wake to eat, sleep through the middle of the night, wake to eat, and sleep through the morning.

Actually forget sleeping through the night, we're working on sleeping through 1 show! Especially if that show is Conan.

When I finally get away I damn well better fall asleep myself in the next 5 minutes because an hour later I'll be getting up again to start the charade all over again. And this is a good night. Don't even get me started on a bad night! ( it involves hours of trying to get a sleep session to "stick" after LO falls asleep at the breast which she clearly just needed to fall asleep and not eat )

When other parents told me to "sleep now because you won't be sleeping once the baby comes!" and all the other baby sleep advice/warnings - I laughed it off. I didn't take it seriously. I figured we'd be up a few times in the night but nothing I couldn't handle. I can't even remember what went through my stupidly smug head or why I thought this wouldn't apply to me. Probably something about how her cradle would be right next to me and I was breastfeeding so I wouldn't have to go downstairs to make a bottle and then into a nursery to feed her like all those other silly parents. And don't get me wrong that does help ALOT but there's more to middle of the night baby shenanigans than eating. There's the middle of the night crib party at 3am. There's the waking-up-as-soon-as-you-set-them-down-syndrome and of course the 45 minute sleep cycle curse. I feel a bit gipped because what they show on TV isn't true - at least not for breastfeeding moms and at least not for the first 6 months. (The couple lies in bed, the clock reads 5am. The baby cries over the baby monitor. After having been asleep since midnight. The wife stirs, wakes the husband and says your turn hunny!) HA! In our house there are no turns - but don't worry - I have informed my husband that he will have his "turn" when she is older. Monster-in-the-closet duty will be his. Along with nightmare duty. Wet-the-bed duty. And one-more-glass-of-water-duty. Although he could do that for 4 years and it will still never equal all the time I've spent awake with Mia in the first 4 months!

So all of this to say, when someone warns you about the perils of baby sleep - listen. Shuffle that pregnant belly of yours over to bed and snuggle down. Because unless you get blessed with one of those mysterious babies that somehow "sleep through the night since 5 weeks old" this WILL be you in one form or another!

Side Note: To those for whom the first few paragraphs sounded harsh - Don't worry - baby gets plenty of nightime snuggling and nursing time! We definately practice attachment parenting in this household and I am with her 24/7 but I am too paranoid about SIDS to have her sleep IN the bed with me - right next to me is the next best thing though! And eventually my need for more than 2 hours of sleep means that she needs to learn to fall asleep in her cradle - (or fall back asleep after falling asleep nursing and being moved to her cradle) peacefully - no CIO here!

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