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Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Arts & Crafts



A Mixed Media by Sabine.

A Mixed Media by Sabine.

A couple weeks ago I put together an art box for Sabine with a bunch of odds and ends from crafts I did years ago. The box has some blank notecards (our personal favorite for painting because you can later fold them and send them to grandparents!) stamps, stickers, papers, punches, crayons, glitter, cookie cutters, etc. This week we added these awesome little Crayola Paint Pots. They were just a few dollars at Target and are PERFECT for little hands and fingers.

We keep all our arts and crafts in an IKEA tub that has a lift out bin on top. Very handy for all the little things. It fits perfectly in our hallway wardrobe, too, so it is super easy to get to.

The top part of the tub has small stuff, crayons, paints, punches, stamps, etc.

The top part of the tub has small stuff, crayons, paints, punches, stamps, etc.

The bottom has a big container of glitter, large punches, the glue gun and other glues. This is a fun box!

The bottom has a big container of glitter, large punches, the glue gun and other glues. This is a fun box!

I knew that I would be parking Sabine in front of the TV for at least an hour yesterday to work so we started our day off with waffles and crafts. She had so much fun expressing herself! I’m really excited to seeing her taking to crafting. She inspects everything with such care and is so proud when a project is finished.

painting 7

After we painted, glued punches, colored and glittered our card we moved on to inspecting the paint pots and painting our placemat.

painting 1 painting 3

And when all is said and done, the art is hung on our fridge, the paint cleaned up, supplies returned to the box and we move on to our next task!

painting 8


Turns out size does matter



* this will be short. Sabine does not give me much time to blog at the moment but I want to get this out there for input. I have another post in my draft folder about meeting with the amazing Mo, but alas, have yet to finish it. Maybe it will be a two post day… (or maybe not)

** Post now has to be put on hold because SOMEONE smells of poop… and it is not me… nor a cat…. ahem.

Ok, let’s try again. So it turns out size does matter. I took Sabine to meet with a well-known and well-respected pediatrician in NYC. Dr. O went over her records from the previous doctor, took her measurements and did an exam. Then she brought me into her office to talk. Never a good sign. She printed out Sabine’s growth charts and they were anything from “ok” like our last doctor had said.

** pause for warm milk **

**pause for three hours to take Sabine to the park, take her on a walk, stop for cookies, and to feed her cheese **

Her previous doctor had told me Sabine is “just fine” and is “following her own curve.” I never questioned or asked to look at the curves. It seems Sabine has fallen off the curve entirely and fell off around 9 months. She is now 14 months. She is so tiny she is often mistaken for a 6 month old. There are some days that I just want to lie. People stare in disbelief at this little tiny “6 month old” crawling and cruising and laughing and being awesome and then come up and ask, baffled, how old she is.

“She is 14 months,” I say proudly and then their faces fall. 14 months? Really? Sometimes I get judgmental looks (don’t you feed your kid?). Sometimes I get an encouraging statement that “she could still grow.” (I don’t think it matters one bit if she is short thankyouverymuch) Sometimes I get very rude questions – “What is wrong with her? Was she born premature?”

** Pause to make dinner **

** Long pause to sleep **

(back to post Tuesday at 10:20 a.m.)

Dr. O said this could just be Sabine living up to “her genetic potential” but since she has fallen so far off the curve (she was born at about 30% and at her “largest” was 45%) she wants to make sure. She recommended we see a pediatric endocrinologist to evaluate her for dietary problems and a possible growth hormone deficiency. I asked that Dr. O please also print the WHO growth chart in addition to the CDC chart since Sabine is a breast fed baby. She politely humored me and then pointed out that according to the WHO her height is actually even further off the charts.

The appointment left me sad and stressed. I don’t want something to be wrong with Sabine. I started researching heavily and learned that it is more likely that this is not a growth hormone issue, but a dietary issue. Sabine still nurses, a lot. She prefers warm milk over food any day. She has become a maddeningly picky eater and her list of “likes” is quickly dwindling. Some days all she eats are the muffins I make and warm milk.

I have gotten looks and comments from people that imply her problems are “because we are still breast feeding” and then helpful advice that formula will make it all better. I have to try hard not to laugh in their faces. Do you think I have not tried formula at this point? Of course I have. She rejects it. She rejects cows milk. She rejects everything. I made really yummy turkey, quinoa and apple meatballs last night for us. They were delicious, mild and perfect for baby. She took one nibble and threw it on the floor. She rejected her yummy boiled potato. She rejected her maple yogurt. Instead she ate a handful of black beans, half a muffin and half a veggie/prune pouch.

** Pause to deal with howling cat who is threatening to wake sleeping Sabine **

I try to do everything the books say to do: meals are at the same place every time (the family table) and Sabine eats when we eat. We include her in the meal when she allows, and offer her Baby Einstein when she needs something to help her sit still for the 30 minutes it takes to finish her tiny dinner. When she throws everything on the floor I try my hardest not to show my frustration. I have a “three offers” rule where I offer an item three times before moving on. We always start the meal with offering the most nutrient dense option and then go down from there. It always ends with her only eating beans or tofu and muffin and fruit/veggie pouch, though.

I DREAD having a medical professional tell me that I am doing this to my kid. I fear a doctor telling me to just load her up on highly processed “baby foods.” No judgement, but I just am not comfortable feeding my daughter this stuff. We are not out to “fatten” Sabine up. The problem is not that she is skinny. The problem is that she is barely growing. But she has chub and is meeting her milestones (albeit slower than her friends). She is sweet and so studious, inspecting everything she sees with the meticulousness of a scientist.

(For the record, we do offer some traditional baby snacks. Baby Mum Mum’s are crucial to keeping her happy in the store or car, Trader Joe’s fortified O’s, Ella’s Kitchen fruit and veggie pouches, Baby Bell Cheeses, and these wheat buttery crackers that she goes bonkers for.)

Adding to my worry is the fact that Sabine is still anemic, which floors me because of the few things she eats, they are all pretty good sources of iron – black beans, spouted wheat bread, tofu and I bulk her muffins with fortified baby cereal and molasses. We started an iron supplement three days ago and will go for a retest in a month. Hopefully we will see some improvement then. I’m also going to order a pound of grass-fed organic beef and see if she will accept this. I’m not getting my hopes up, though.

No one wants to have their parenting choices questioned or implications made that you are “starving” your kid. No one wants to be that first time parent in the doctors office going “What? You are supposed to be doing that? Why didn’t anyone tell me?” No one wants to be the mama of the baby who is the ONLY ONE not walking in her age group. No one wants to hear every. single. day. that her child is really tiny.

So mama’s of tiny babes – any advice? Anyone have a super picky eater and some tips for introducing new foods? Anyone give iron supplements? I feel like I might be doing everything wrong right now and could use some input! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the above video of Sabine’s first time walking with a walker. Good lord she was into it. We have since gotten a little wooden wagon at home and she spends her days running laps in the house with it!

Nursery School, Nannies and Returning to Work



Sabine holding a nature revival in Maine. This is my favorite photo from our vacation (which I need to share with you all!)

Sabine holding a nature revival in Maine. This is my favorite photo from our vacation (which I need to share with you all!)

I need to be honest with you guys – I am not in love with being a stay-at-home mom.

I feel horrible saying that. Yes, I am so lucky to get to be with Sabine during these precious days and yes I am relishing each and every one of them. Seriously relishing because I know I will not have a second chance to experience this. Sabine will be our only.

That said, I miss going to work. I was so pumped about being my own boss and being a part-time personal trainer when we moved here that I overlooked how much I actually like being part of a creative team and how much I enjoy going to work. I miss marketing more than I ever thought I would and find myself looking at job posting regularly and day dreaming about suits and button ups as I put on another navy or grey t-shirt and cargo shorts (my mom uniform as of late).

I have talked to the Professor about this and he is, um, not super stoked. We spent quite a lot of money to send me to school to be a personal trainer and I still have not prepared for and taken my certification exams. I passed the school portion with a 95% average, which is great. I was told I will be an excellent trainer and have what it takes. But, my heart just is not where I thought it was. Gym clothes 24-7 does not sound as yummy as it did when I thought I wanted to be home with Sabine until college do we part.

Childcare is a major issue with my going back to work full-time. We can’t afford childcare until I am working, but here you have to enroll your kids at least a year before you are ready to send them around here. Will I be able to find work to pay for the childcare if we enroll her? I will have been out of the field for two years by then. Will anyone hire me for a marketing gig???

We do agree that we are not ready to send our baby who can’t talk, and can’t walk, off to daycare in a big, crime ridden city. I know this sounds crazy and people do it all the time but we are worried sick about it. We both agree that we’ll be ready once she can come home and say, “Mama, something bad happened today.” and have some concept of “Stranger danger.”

We had  a nanny one day a week while I was in school and it was lovely but… not for us. Nanny culture here is that they act as parent, arranging play dates at other kids’ homes and taking the kids out to run errands and such. The problem is that the nannies don’t tell the parent where they are going. I would have no idea where our nanny took Sabine during the day and I never knew the homes she took her into. Were they child-proofed? Were they clean? Did she eat something she should not have? I had no way of knowing.

Call me over protective or crazy or whatever, but I am not cool with this. The icing on the “no nanny cake” was when I realized our nanny was taking Sabine all the way down to Broadway to run her personal errands. Broadway is a busy street and not always the safest. I am only comfortable taking myself down there during business hours and am always careful when Sabine is with me. People drive like lunatics, accidents happen regularly and there is a good bit of riff raff.

We interviewed other nannies and were surprised to find a lot of push back when we said we were not comfortable with this. I am more than comfortable with walks in our neighborhood, visits to the park across the street and regularly scheduled activities at organized public events like library time but just don’t feel comfortable letting a nanny run free with my kiddo and take her to into homes I do not know. This kind of trust is built over time with a nanny and as your child grows and develops a shred of common sense. It is not ok when your 8 month-old is still trying to taste cat turds she dug out of the litter box (thank heavens we are passed that now!)

So the nanny is out as a childcare option.

Yesterday I decided I was done running in hypothetical circles with my husband and I went to tour a nursery school at the local Presbyterian Church and it was LOVELY. The school has a Parent/Toddler program for littles like Sabine and then at 2 they can enroll in their “2’s Program,” which has a slew of scheduling options at deliciously realistic prices (still high compared to Kentucky but very reasonable by NYC standards). The school was clean and adorable and all the teachers were delightful and clearly loved what they were doing.

I fell in love. It felt safe, secure and happy there. They offer an instructional based curriculum meaning the kids don’t just run free for 6 hours each day, which I think is really important. I want Sabine to be learning WHILE she plays. It feels like such a good fit for us!

Today I went back and registered her for the fall Parent/Toddler Program. Starting in October we will together for 75 minutes twice a week to play, learn and sing. It is a great way to warm her up to the school and check it out. Next week the Professor’s mother will be visiting (also known as “The Investor” and “She Who Kindly Paid for IVF”) and we will take a tour together and then sit down to discuss some options for enrolling Sabine when she turns 2.

My emotions are not where I thought they would be with this. I feel such peace knowing that I can stay with her one more year, until she can talk and walk and that there is part-time or full-time school for her at 2. I am excited to see her grow and gain a little independence next year and am really excited to look at returning to the work force myself. And I am SO relieved to not have to have another discussion with another nanny about my overbearing wishes, too. I am also a little afraid the Professor will not agree! But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Until then, I am going to day dream about watching my lovely little Lamb grow up and start a special school.

How do my fellow stay-at-home mom’s feel about their new “role.” Anyone else surprised at how they feel? And my readers who went back to work, how do you feel? Has anyone started with a part-time 2’s program and then bumped to full-time preschool at 3?