6 Months


Wow.

How in the world has 6 months gone by since we welcomed our miracle girl into our world? I want to say it seems like yesterday that I was still pregnant and in some ways it does but in more ways Eden has been the perfect completion of our little family that it seems like she’s always been here.

I didn’t expect to love every stage with her because with Ezekiel I loved every stage more than the one before and I thought maybe because of that experience I wouldn’t love the stages as much since I would always be looking forward to the next.  I’m happy to say I’m still absolutely loving every stage – newborn to now has been amazing.  Watching a little person develop and grow and being an integral part of that process is such a privilege! I know far too many people that don’t get to experience that for many reasons and so I try daily to be very present in the process and be grateful for even the hard days.  As always happens in my life I’m finding that even the difficult days don’t seem so difficult until I’m looking at them in the past.  The newborn to three months didn’t seem as daunting at the time as they seem now looking back.  The lack of schedule, the learning of behaviours, cries, likes and dislikes.  The juggling the busyness of keeping two humans alive – all seems so daunting now looking back on it but really in the moment I didn’t mind it.  Then the 3-6 months of finally getting into some sort of rhythm coupled with my need to be home resting and becoming comfortable with my own struggles (read about that here) again seems so daunting now on the other side of it but the process didn’t seem so bad.  In fact it was invigorating to realize we were getting into a rhythm and schedule finally and my Type A personality rejoiced in what soon would become a bit of predictability.

Yes being a mother of two is not as easy as being a mother of one (to all my twin momma’s out there – you are absolute rockstars!!!) but it is just as rewarding and life giving as being a mother of one.  The stages, the discoveries, the developments are all just as worthy of celebration and my desire to celebrate them has been just as strong as when I was experiencing them with my first (to my surprise).  No there aren’t as many pictures – mainly because I want to experience it all without the hindrance of taking a million pictures.  You could label that as a “second child problem” but I’m labeling it as a “more present mother” problem, which isn’t a problem at all.

Eden is our little sunshine girl.  She is pure joy bottled into one little human.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met such a happy baby.  She smiles with her entire body, laughs with the funniest little snorts and loves so fiercely that she can’t control how tightly she grabs you for a hug.  Yes, she is INTENSE in all of her joy and that joy overflows into all that know her.  I know that she will be a girl and woman that uplifts those around her, who loves beyond her limits and brings life to all who know her.  She has already been that to our family and we are so so so lucky to call her our little miracle girl.

It’s a GIRL!

Well, we made it! We actually truly made it to our scheduled C-section date of March 17, 2017! I’ll save the full birth story for another day but I wanted to do an announcement post for all you out there that follow along on our crazy journey.

Eden Bonandje (bon-an-jay)
March 17, 2017 @ 0938
7lb 8oz
20 inches

My entire life I’ve always been quite vocal that I would love to be a boy mom and wouldn’t mind if I never had a girl.  Regardless I was never curious enough or cared enough to find out the genders of my babies because in the end what really mattered to me was that I had a baby.  Early on in this pregnancy I had a strong feeling that I was carrying a girl, but by the second trimester I was back to the “who knows” mentality.  Still I often found myself referring to the baby as a girl in my mind.  I think there might have only been one person who guessed that the baby was a boy and the rest – even complete strangers – were convinced baby was a girl.  Ezekiel was beyond adamant that he was going to have a baby sister and you could not even try to entertain the idea that it just MIGHT be a boy.  My husband  really really really wanted a daughter and thought that since my pregnancy was so riddled with excitement that it had to be a girl because boys just don’t demand that kind of attention :).  I just continued on in the mindset that either way I would be happy.

When they pulled her out and announced excitedly that she was a GIRL the joy and pure happiness that flowed through me took me by surprise.  A girl, a daughter, my last baby is my baby girl.  I still tear up thinking about it and probably will for years to come.  I didn’t know how deeply my soul needed this girl.  She is pure perfection and we are completely smitten.  I find myself dreaming of raising her, of the values I want her to grow up with.  The fears I had about raising a girl were swept away when I looked at her and replaced with the joy I’m feeling at the privilege I have of being able to raise a strong, confident, capable and wonderful woman.

I’m so happy to have been blessed with something I had no idea I needed so badly.

 

 

 

 

Time IN vs Time OUT

A few days ago I browsed a blog post that talked about the difference between time-in’s and time-out’s (this isn’t the exact post but something similar I found because I couldn’t find the exact one).  I had of course heard of putting children in time-out’s and have used that strategy 4 times in the past year with great results.  However I had never heard of time-in’s and I was intrigued.  Essentially a time-out means separating your child completely and a time-in is like a time-out for you both together.  In a time-out you put your child alone in a designated spot, for time-in you sit with your child in that designated spot.

Ezekiel is 2, at that age where he is learning that he has the ability to say no and fight for what he wants.  He’s a fairly reasonable child – I can usually talk him out of a temper tantrum if I catch it right at the beginning.  He can be distracted by something equally as tempting as what he wants to do which is a strategy I use often (Ezekiel I’ve asked you to stop touching the things on the shelf, how about you come help me with supper instead).  He also understands and follows rules if I implement them consistently – the most recent one being no toys at the table.  In the beginning there were many meltdowns over that rule, but now he’s satisfied with placing his beloved toy at the foot of his highchair to play with when he’s done eating.

Side-note – meltdowns are absolutely allowed in our house, these are different from a temper tantrum.  Being upset because you really want something is different then thrashing, hitting etc. because you didn’t get what you want.  In the event of a melt down I simply allow him to cry for a while and then ask him to take some deep breaths, try and distract him by singing his favourite songs and continue to reinforce the rule he is upset about.  That strategy works 99% of the time.  1% of the time it turns into a full blown tantrum.

Of course he’s still a two year old and still gives in to so many temptations breaking rules here and there.  My general rule is that if he is breaking a rule and I’ve asked him to stop – he demonstrates he understands by stopping and then continues when I look away – if I have to ask him three times then he goes upstairs to his room for 2 minutes.  We are now working on “sorry mom I didn’t listen to you” so I go upstairs and ask him to say sorry – sometimes he outright refuses in which case I leave for another two minutes and repeat the process until he says sorry.  This specific instance has only happened once. Usually he listens and stops what I’ve asked him to do before the third time.

There have been times of complete uncontrollable temper tantrums – 3 that I recall.  All of them have happened after coming home from the dayhome before supper.  He’s exhausted and very hungry and controlling emotions is something that is just not going to happen.  I get it, I totally understand but I also get very frustrated in those moments.  Two of those times happened last summer and I put him in his room until he calmed down then went in and we snuggled for a good 15-20 minutes and from then on he was happy and I quickly fed him so he’d stay that way :).

Yesterday was the third instance.  I knew he had a rough night with my husband the night before while I was at work and I knew he would be tired.  When his emotions are extreme it indicates his level of tiredness – usually it’s overly happy, running and yelling and laughing and dancing.  He reminds me of those times as a teenager when you’ve pulled an all nighter with your friends which was usually spent laughing at nothing because when you’re overtired everything is funny.   When I picked him up yesterday his level of happiness was OVER THE TOP which is always nice when you’re child is extremely happy to see you but I also thought “we definitely need an early bedtime tonight.”  We got home and it was nice out so I let him play outside while I tidied before getting supper ready, somehow within 10 minutes he went from happy to frustrated with something (I still have no idea what) that he was not able to communicate with me.  The situation very quickly went in a downward spiral as I asked what he was upset about and he got more and more upset without trying to explain.  In that moment I decided playtime outside was done and he was MAD – over the top, more than I’ve ever seen him.  I took off his outside clothes while he thrashed and screamed bloody murder.  I knew this was not going to be controllable on the main level of our house so I marched him upstairs thinking I would put him in time-out but then I remembered the article on time-in’s and thought I’d give it a try.  I went to his room, closed his door, sat on the floor and made him sit down facing me.  I held his hands in mine and asked him to take some deep breaths, he instantly calmed down in less than 30 seconds – still upset but not thrashing around.  Then I grabbed our homemade lavender coconut oil lotion and rubbed some on his chest and feet, he helped by putting some on his feet.  By that point the pouty lip had stopped and the tears were done.  I asked if he would like to read a story, he promptly got up, grabbed a book and ran to me happily ready to read.  We read two books and he got up and I asked if he was ready to go make supper, he ran to the door laughing.

What an amazing tool! I couldn’t believe the response I got from that strategy.  It shows him that temper tantrums are not tolerated but that I’m willing to help him out when he can’t seem to help himself.  It shows him that crying and screaming doesn’t get you what you want but that there’s always other options to what you want to do.  It gives him a choice with his mom by his side helping him out with that choice.

I will still use time-outs for those instances of outright disobedience because I know very well that Ezekiel is capable of following direction and listening to rules but when it comes to uncontrollable emotional outbursts I will definitely use time-in’s.

What is your discipline strategies? Any tips for this momma? I know down the road the frequency of discipline is likely to increase exponentially!

Being a “PERFECT” Parent

  
Ah.

This topic can be such a difficult thing for so many people.  There’s a lot of internet chatter about expectations, and mommy guilt.  Some people find it difficult to be on social media amongst the well curated photos that portray a “perfect” life, home, mom, kids, dad, dog… and the list goes on and on.

Here’s the thing though.

There is no such thing as perfection in our humanity.

End of story.

Maybe that’s why I don’t really struggle with mom guilt.  I’m not aiming to be perfect – that’s so unattainable that my type-A personality can’t handle it. Sure I have my moments but for the most part I think I do an OK job – and if I’m not, if somehow I’m messing it all up – well God’s got that under control.

Here’s the other thing.

I was created specifically to be Ezekiel’s mother.  Me. No one else.  So if I was created to be that person then I can only assume that I’m adequate for the job.

I’ve been thinking about this so much lately.  I realize that I’m a bit radical in so many ways when it comes to my parenting style – no TV, no sugar, organic food, wood toys, cloth diapers, extended breastfeeding etc. etc. Not only am I a bit radical but I’m also VERY talkative and I fear my constant chatter makes it seem as though I believe my ways are better than others.  While it’s true I generally feel like no TV, no sugar and more organic food will benefit everyone (not just children) that’s such a SMALL portion of being a parent.  Those decisions? Those are the minute details in the grand scheme of things. Loving your child fiercely, allowing them to grow up dreaming and teaching your child to respect and love humanity? That’s huge – far greater than what you let them watch or eat.

I have so many blog posts written in my head about parenting and I have been just waiting on when to post them.  I feel like I’m coming into a place where I can start to jot it down.

More than anything my prayer and hope is that when I write I’m conveying the deep conviction I have when it comes to parenting.  God created you, He created your little one(s) and He did that ON PURPOSE and FOR A REASON – trust in that always and things will always work out.

Must Have Baby List for the Minimalist

We are coming up on Ezekiel’s first birthday so I thought it would be a great time to make a must have baby list for minimalists.  When I found out we were expecting, I knew that I wasn’t going to find out the sex for a few different reasons.

  1. I knew I would be having a scheduled c-section so I wanted something to be a surprise (little did I know Ezekiel surprised us anyways 4 weeks early).
  2. I knew that if I knew the sex that I would spend a lot of money on unnecessary things simply because I would be so excited.

So we bought very few things before Ezekiel arrived other than the essentials, and we didn’t add much after he was born.  I have always vowed that my house would not be overtaken by a baby.  I didn’t want toys and “things” cluttering up our living space and I’m still adamant about that.  The things we did buy we loved and I would do the same all over again.  Did I want lots of pretty, and expensive things? Yep.  Thankfully our budget was so small that I couldn’t get any of those expensive things and so our house remains baby clutter free.

So if you’re expecting or planning on starting your family and want to keep things simple this list is for you.

  • Bassinet
    • Ezekiel had reflux bad enough that he was choking at night so he slept in our room in his bassinet until he was 4 months old.  My parents bought our bassinet as a baby gift and so we got the one I had my heart set on from Restoration Hardware.  If we were buying it ourselves we probably would have bought something a lot cheaper but I really really love the one we have.  Anyways, I guess if you are co-sleeping you wouldn’t need one (although I’m not a fan of co-sleeping) but the bassinet was essential for us.
  •  Crib
    • Of course you will need a crib – unless you are planning on co-sleeping then disregard this.  I had my heart set on expensive cribs but I knew we couldn’t afford it so I searched Kijiji for weeks waiting for a great deal on a great crib.  I found one I loved for $75 (new it would have been $600) and I painted it to match the crib I actually wanted.
  • Change Table
    • This is something a lot of people will tell you that you don’t need.  I disagree.  To go along with my house being overtaken by baby things, I didn’t want diaper stations all over my house.  I wanted one station, and given that we did cloth diapers it made sense to have one station.  I have never changed Ezekiel anywhere in our house but his room and I love it that way.  I love that the change table is organized and has everything we need.  Our change table also doubles as a dresser, which I think is a smart use of space.  We keep anything that doesn’t hang in the dresser including linens.  Again I bought this on Kijiji for $50 and painted it the same color as the crib.
  • Rocker/Glider
    • Some people will tell you not to waste your money.  Ours was given to us as a gift and it is possibly the most used piece of furniture in our house.  Since we have roommates I have nursed Ezekiel in his room since February and now he resists nursing anywhere but that chair. For me it’s comfortable and convenient, especially in the middle of the night.  I can’t imagine not having our glider.
  • Nursing Pillow
    • If you are planning on nursing, this is a must have.  I still use mine every time Ezekiel nurses and it makes it so much more comfortable for both of us.  I never got the hang of nursing without it.
  • Noise maker/Fan
    • We got a Sleep Sheep as a gift and have used it since day one.  For Ezekiel it’s a cue that it’s time to sleep and it works for him! We also use a fan in his room as white noise to distract from other noise in the house.  Before we had the fan he had a difficult time after moving into his own room to sleep beyond his first sleep cycle.  I’m guessing that it was because I’m really quiet during the day, there’s not a lot of noise in our house so when he was trying to transition between sleep cycles a little noise would wake him up fully.  With the fan it’s a familiar noise for him and it drowns out other noises.  You don’t actually need to buy a noise maker, you could use a radio with light white noise or just a fan.  The downside to the sleep sheep is that it turns off after 45 minutes but we still use it as a cue for him.
  • Swaddle Blankets
    • I am a huge believer in swaddling and for Ezekiel it was essential.  He was so jerky with his movements and it took a long time for him to grow out of it.  We bought 8 swaddle blankets, 4 small ones and 4 larger ones all Summer brand (the cheapest ones we could find) and they served us well.  As he moved on from needing to be swaddled we used them as spit up blanket.  We did have burp cloths but I don’t think we needed them – Ezekiel was a puker not a spitter upper (pretend those are words haha) so we needed more than just a cloth.  I know people rave about the more expensive swaddle blankets but honestly, you use them for a few months and then put them away, I say just buy the cheapest ones and save yourself some cash.
  • Sleep Bag
    • I always planned on using a sleep bag and we have been using them since he stopped being swaddled. Ezekiel is now to the point that when I put him in the bag he knows exactly what’s going on, sometimes he’ll protest but more often he’ll be excited to nurse haha.
  • Bounce Seat
    • Ezekiel spent a lot of time in his seat – when I was showering, when I was making dinner, and anytime I needed to put him down.  He loved it and I loved the convenience of it.  Again we bought the bare minimum and cheapest one we could find (Summer brand again) and it worked so well that I couldn’t imagine spending any more than we did.  I refused to get a swing because they are so bulky and take up an entire room and I didn’t miss it at all!  So I suggest bounce chair over swing for sure!
  • Play Mat
    • We got a play mat as a gift and it was super simple and pretty small and Ezekiel loved playing under it.  Along with the bounce seat, once Ezekiel was about 3 months old we started alternating putting him down in the seat and on the mat.
  • Jolly Jumper
    • I wasn’t sure about getting a jolly jumper but we tried one out at a friends house and Ezekiel loved it so much that we decided to go ahead and get one.  It provided hours of entertainment for Ezekiel! The best part was that it easily folds together and can be stored out of sight when not in use.
  • Baby Walker
    • I was determined to get a baby walker so my parents brought us one from the states.  We got it in April and Ezekiel has been using it daily since then.  At first he was too small to move it but still enjoyed sitting and playing in it.  Once we got the walker we gradually stopped using the bounce seat.  This is one of the bulkier items in our house but we have a perfect parking spot for it in the living room and it doesn’t stick out too much.  Ezekiel LOVES this walker and now that he can move it around he cruises everywhere on our main floor.  He can spend up to an hour in it without ever needing anything from me.  It’s brilliant! He goes from the front entrance to the back entrance, watches the laundry, looks out the kitchen windows, and every so often he’ll do a circle in the kitchen just to come say hello.  Other times he’ll follow me every where and run over my toes, the days that he needs to be around me more the walker is great too! He can be right at my feet and visit while I am cooking or doing dishes or whatever.  This item is an ESSENTIAL for us! Although I must say if you have open stairways it’s not safe in your house, in our case our basement has a door on it so there’s no way for him to fall down them.
  • Good Quality Stroller
    • I wanted a good quality stroller and needed a bassinet with it (we bought a convertible car seat because of my c-section I wasn’t going to be able to take a bucket car seat in and out of the car) but I wasn’t willing or able to pay $500+ dollars.  So of course I took to Kijiji for weeks waiting for the best deal.  I had my mind set on the Bumbleride Indy and did find one second hand for a great price.  I’m not sure if I would go with this brand again, but it has served us well and we do really like it.  I have taken many many walks, and even jogged with this stroller.
  • Baby Monitor
    • We bought the cheapest one we could find and it’s worked for us just fine.  Really, you don’t need to see your child every moment they are asleep, just need to make sure you hear them when they wake up!

So those are the big items that are on my must have list other little things that are needed:

  • Towels – we do fine with 4
  • 1 pack of face cloths – you don’t need any more than that
  • Cloth diapers (go here to read about our experience)
  • Blankets – we bought one before Ezekiel was born and had many gifted to us, so I wouldn’t suggest buying many or any at all.

I think that’s it! Other than clothes (admittedly we like to buy good quality clothes but we make sure to only buy during sales) you really don’t need much else to get by with a baby.  We only have a small basket of toys for Ezekiel and have never actually bought any of them.  He enjoys all his toys, but most of the time would rather play with the kitchen towel, an empty water bottle or plastic container, so don’t waste your money on all those cute toys out there.  Especially for the first year, your baby is going to learn more from your interactions than from playing with the toys.  We do have books and Ezekiel LOVES story time. When I sit down on the floor and take down a book he automatically sits or lays on his belly in front of me all smiles and giggles waiting for the story to start.  It’s probably my favorite thing ever, so if I was going to spend money on entertainment for Ezekiel I would buy him books at this age.

Do you have anything to add to this must have minimalist baby list?

 

Cloth Diapers

I always knew I wanted to do cloth diapers for our babies.  Something about it going against the grain I suppose, I wanted to do things a bit differently than the majority.  I LOVE cloth diapering and have never had an ounce of regret.  When I was pregnant I began to research a bit about how to start, how to wash, which diapers are best etc.  In the end my greatest resource was going to a local boutique that specializes in cloth diapers and asking questions, they were super friendly and incredibly knowledgeable.

I thought I’d go through our diaper routine and add little tid bits here and there so you can get a glimpse into the world of cloth diapering.

Diaper Station

This is our changing station.  I suppose one downside to cloth diapers is that you are stuck having to change your babe in a specific place.  For me this wasn’t a con because I love the routine, and definitely love the organization factor.

Diaper Drawer

All things diapers and baby care live in the top drawer.  Liners to the left, flannel inserts to catch the poop in the middle, right in front of those are reusable wipes, the basket holds tylenol, gripe water, syringes, thermometer etc. etc.  Then in front to the right are the covers, and extra hand sanitizer.  You can use flushable inserts for after your baby starts solids, or if you are formula feeding and it’s pretty simple to just throw the liner in the toilet and flush!  We chose to make our own flannel inserts because it was free! My mom gave us two large old flannel sheets, we just cut them to size.  If there’s no poop in the diaper it gets thrown in the bucket with everything else, washed and reused.  If there’s poop we use a plastic grocery bag (kept in a bag hanging on the right side of the table), tie it tightly and throw it in a small bin right behind the black bin. I empty that once a week and have never had an issue with smell.  When he goes to a day home we’ll buy flushable liners to send with him, but for now this works and has no cost associated with it.

We also chose to use reusable wipes, again because it’s far more affordable, and because there are no chemicals or irritants so it’s better for babies skin.  I splurged on a Prince Lionheart Wipes Warmer and really love it, I’m glad I spent the $50, especially in the newborn phase when Ezekiel hated being cold.

We chose Bummis brand for really no other reason than they were the most affordable.  It had been recommended several times to try out a few brands, but honestly we didn’t have a budget to buy anymore than we absolutely needed and it really worked for us.  We use the Super Brite line and love them (although I think that line is being discontinued).  We haven’t spent more than $300 on diapers, and accessories thus far, and probably have no more than $100 left to spend on bigger sizes and these will be used for all our kids!

Diaper Bin Small Wet BagWe bought one large wet bag to keep at home, and one small one to keep in the diaper bag.  We haven’t purchased anymore and they have held up fantastic! That black bin is from Ikea and the large bag fits in it like a dream! It was a match made in heaven and a total fluke that I even found it! With the lid closed there is zero smell in his room which was my biggest fear going into this.

Used LinerThe great thing about these particular diapers compared to the all-in-ones is that I can reuse the covers over and over.  Generally I use 2 covers per day and rotate them.  When one is used I just hang it over the side of the table to dry the elastics and the inside and use it for the next diaper change.  When I’m done using one and want to wash it I just throw it in the bin.  Some people prefer to wash them by hand to preserve the velcro but ours have held up fine so far. The washing of the diapers has never seemed like an inconvenience for me.  I have enough diapers to last about 2-3 days, I usually wash every second day in the morning.  It’s part of my routine to grab the wet bag on my way downstairs for breakfast.

Soap I buy the laundry soap from the same boutique that we bought the diapers from.  It has to be natural and phosphate free to preserve the absorbency of the liners.  This is the second bag of soap I’ve bought since Ezekiel was born and it’s still over half full, you don’t need to use much at all.

WasherFor the actual washing of the diapers I first do a rinse cycle with cold water then do a normal cycle with hot water and the laundry detergent.  I’ve never hung mine to dry, always just used the dryer and have been fine with that.

I’ve been using the infant size since Ezekiel grew to big for the newborn size, I should have sized up about 7 lbs ago but just haven’t got around to it.  Ezekiel is a large baby (22.5lbs at 9 months) and is quite chubby around his legs and definitely has a ghetto booty! He does get a bit of a plumbers crack with this size right now, and we have to change him every 3 hours or he leaks, which I’m totally ok with.  It is a sign that the diaper is too small when it’s leaking from the front, I figured this out when Ezekiel grew out of the newborn size.  We have one larger sized cover that we bought accidentally thinking it was infant sized, we use it for overnight and just use two inserts and it works like a dream!

I think that pretty much covers it.  I can’t praise cloth diapers enough and would recommend everyone do them! I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.