Saturday, 21 July 2012

Back At It

Wow how am I finding time for all this blogging with three kids?  I must be neglecting them or something.  Haha, just kidding!  They're all napping, and usually I would be too but it's Saturday and I had other stuff to do.  So now that I'm all showered and caught up on some housework (ok, maybe no so much housework as it's still a mess around here but it's the weekend so that makes it acceptable), I'm sitting down for a few minutes before it's time to get them up and move on to other things.

So pretty much the day after Lily was born I felt like I could run a marathon.  In reality that probably wouldn't have been a good idea, but that's how I felt.  Right away I felt like I wanted to get back into working out.  Of course common sense told me to give myself at least a few weeks for my body to rest, so I tried my best to listen.  I was out and about walking the town early on though, and managed to do a little bit of hooping at home (ohhhh, hooping!  That's what I could be doing now!).

When Lily was 2.5 weeks we went to a Mommy and Baby yoga class hosted by our new naturopath.  It was great and made me realize that I really miss yoga.

Last Wednesday I did my first fitness class since having her, it was the Outdoor Postnatal Bootcamp at the Y.  Tristan went to the farm with Tyler and I took Finn and Lily in the double stroller.  The class was supposed to be 45 minutes but was more like an hour, maybe even more.  It was great, we did lots of walking with breaks to stretch and do intervals of cardio and strength, and we did some jogging too.  I loved it.  I really felt it the next day though. 

Today Tyler braved watching all three kids so I could go to the gym and work out, and I was so thankful for that.  I walked there then did 25 minutes on the elliptical, and probably another 25 on the strength machines, before doing some stretching then walking home.  I wish I could have stayed and done more.  I'm hoping to meet with a wellness coach soon to discuss other machines I can incorporate into my workout now that I'm not pregnant.  I was limited with what I could do while pregnant but now I feel like sky's the limit!

I'm really excited to get back into exercise though I know I will have to start slow, mostly because I don't want to be putting the kids in childminding too much and I don't want to leave Lily too often either.  But I'm hoping to manage at least 3 workouts a week, the postnatal bootcamp one, a weekend trip to the gym, and hopefully a spin class as well to help lose the leftover baby weight. 

Now that I'm not pregnant I'm ready to pick up where I left off on my getting in shape crusade!  In the fall I'd like to take the learn to run 5k class at the Y and hopefully get into running.  I'd also like to start going to power yoga on Tuesday evenings again.  Hopefully soon Lily will be going to bed easily before then so I can go.  There's just so much I want to do!

I have so many fitness goals for the next year.  In addition to learning to run 5k, I plan on doing the Y Ride again, this time riding for 3 hours instead of just 1.  But my big goal for next year is to participate in Met Con Blue Mountain Race.  Never before would I have thought I'd want to do such a thing but now my goal is to train for it.  There is one in September of this year but I know that would be too soon after having Lily, so I'm planning to train for next year's.

If you had asked me 10 or even just 5 years ago what I did for fitness, I would have laughed at you.  Me at the gym?  Ha!  Now I can't imagine my life without it.  I know now how important it is to stay fit and active, and I can't believe how many years of my life I wasted being a potato.  If I could get to the gym every day I would.  Right now with 3 small children that's not realistic, and I know they come first, but as they get older I hope to find more time for the fitness activities that I love.

And of course how can I forget hooping!  I'll be starting that back up again soon too.  I need to find some pro hoopers in town to give me a few lessons so I can get back on track.

Regular exercise makes me feel great.  The goal of looking good is only a part of it, though it is a bonus.  The real benefits are what it does for the mind and the spirit, not just the body.  Since I have started exercising I have definitely noticed I have more energy and am able to cope with stress better.  It's win win, how can anyone not exercise?

So Lily is only 4 weeks old and I'm already getting back into the swing of things.  It took me almost a year after having both boys to do anything even remotely active, so I'm feeling pretty good about myself these days!

Hey, I might even have some time for some hooping before the kids wake up!

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Differences Between Children

Ok so here is how it goes:

Baby number one.  I didn't read much to prepare for when Tristan was born, I just kind of figured I'd wing it.  That's how I roll!  A neighbour gave me a copy of the Sears' Baby Book after he was born and I read about attachment parenting and thought great, I could do this!  So we just kind of went along with things.  It was pretty relaxed, and Tristan was a pretty relaxed baby.  He didn't cry much, would fall asleep just about anywhere.  We'd spend our days lounging around on the couch cuddling or napping together in bed.  There was never a rush to do anything and we never had much to do.  It was quite lovely, and I very much enjoyed his newborn days.  By a month he was sleeping decently at night, even doing longer stretches.  We didn't have much of a routine. 

But then when he was about 4 months old he started waking all.night.long.  It was awful.  Lucky for him he was still incredibly happy and sweet during the day.  But we were tired all the time, and it was hard.  So I started buying books.  I bought the No Cry Sleep Solution (didn't really like it).  I bought How to Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, the controversial Ferber book (had some interesting sleep info but controlled crying methods we not for me).  Then I bought The Baby Whisperer Solves Your Problems and finally found a method I thought I could work with.  It had the compassion and respect for babies that attachment parenting preached, without sacrificing the parent to baby's every whim.  So we started working with the Baby Whisperer methods and I did become a little obsessed with Tristan's routine, but it worked and we saw great results.  I was very happy to have discovered the book as it was the most helpful one that I have found to date.

So of course feeling all smug that I had 'created' a baby who was happy on a good routine and slept well, I figured I knew all the secrets and that I'd get it right from the start when we had our second baby.

Baby number two.  Ok, mistake number one is setting expectations too high.  Convinced that I would have another happy easy going baby, and that I knew all the tricks to making babies sleep, I was certain that our second baby would be a champion sleeper right from the start.  WRONG!  First of all, my babies don't sleep well as newborns, or much before a year for that matter.  That is just how they are.  I still didn't know that when Finn was born though, and was so hopeful that he would be sleeping better than Tristan earlier on.  I couldn't be more wrong.

Now, in Finn's defense we went through a major upheaval after he was born when we moved here, and I'm sure that the stress that I went through those first months and even that first year rubbed off on him.  Babies are intuitive, they feel everything.  So while he was a fussy baby by nature, I'm certain it was made worse by the fact that we went through some very rough times.  Then there was the reflux issue.  Finn really did seem like he was in pain and we figured he had reflux.  Once he was medicated for it he seemed to be much happier, but it was still a frustrating situation.  Reflux, colic, call it what you want but that baby cried a lot.  And didn't sleep. 

But I was so focused on wanting to get him on a good routine early and avoid creating accidental parenting or prop issues.  I drove myself crazy trying to 'do things right', and trying to teach independent sleep right from the start when clearly he wasn't ready.  In the end he ended up spending most of the time strapped to my chest while I attempted to get through life with a toddler.  I constantly felt like I was in a whirlwind of craziness, trying to keep him happy but all the while obsessing about routines and sleep.  It was not fun.

You know what though?  Even while I was driving myself nuts things were coming together.  Routines happen whether you try to enforce them or not, especially when you already have an older child on a routine.  Before I knew it Finn was on a routine, and I didn't even need to try so hard.  And you know what else?  It happened earlier than it did with Tristan, and in the end he became a better sleeper as a result.  Without even knowing it I got him napping well in the afternoon and going down easily on his own at night.  And while it took Finn far longer to actually sleep through the night than it did with Tristan, I think he developed better sleep habits earlier and he is still the better sleeper.  In fact, he is an amazing sleeper.

So that brings us to baby number three, and now we come full circle.  What is the difference this time?  I have two other experiences to draw from.  So what was the first step?  LOWERED EXPECTATIONS.  I made sure not to set myself up for disappointment me this time.  Step two?  Relax and let go.  Go back to attachment parenting a bit.  With two older siblings this baby has to go with the flow, so I best forget about worrying about naps in cribs, independent sleep, and all that stuff.  I mean, do I really have time to spend shh/patting Lily to sleep at every nap and bedtime?

I know from my experiences with the boys we'll get there in the end.  Right now Lily naps on the go.  She naps in the carseat, she naps in the baby carrier.  She does not fall asleep easily, the only way I can get her to sleep right now most of the time is to walk around with her in the baby carrier.  Do I worry that I am creating a prop?  Nope.  Maybe I am, but I know that I have the tools to deal with that later.  She is only 4 weeks old right now, and I have to do what I have to do to take care of all members of my family.  So she needs to sleep, and the boys need their care too, so she can sleep in the carrier while I take care of them.  Right now that means when it's time to put her down for her afternoon nap or at bedtime, I have to put her in the carrier and walk her around.  Not ideal I know, but it's fine.  It's totally, 100% fine.  So where as with Finn I would have been stressed about the repercussions of doing this, now I am totally ok with it.

It's fascinating to me to see how my attitude has changed with each child and each experience.  And also how different the situations are.  With my second child, I only had my first very easy one to compare to, and so when he ended up being colicky and fussy I was crushed.  It felt like the end of the world.  I expected it to be easy again.  In retrospect, how could it be?  When you have one baby you can cater to their every need, when you have two your attention has to be divided.  I am noticing that with Lily now as well, even though she is fairly easy going, she has to be schlepped around all over the place which I'm sure makes her more fussy than she might be if she were an only child and I could sit on the couch and hold her all day.  That is just how it is, and I know that now.

I feel bad for thinking so poorly of Finn as a baby.  My expectations for him were so high.  I was hard on him, and I was hard on myself.  Interestingly, I think Lily may be almost as fussy as he was.  Maybe not quite as bad, but she can be pretty fussy.  And she is certainly a lousy sleeper like both the boys were.  But my attitude is different.  I now know that's how babies are.  And maybe instead of labelling Finn refluxy, colicky, or fussy I should have just known that's how newborns act instead of always looking for a 'solution' to the 'problem'.  When Lily fusses I just put her in the carrier and carry on.  That was she can always be with me, and I can always keep doing what needs to be done.  She may or may not be as fussy as Finn, but I am certainly coping much better.

I wished so much of Finn's infancy away, not being able to wait until he was 'older' and 'less fussy', and hoping he would settle at 3/6/9 months etc.  I kept thinking "In one more month he'll be happier", instead of enjoying him as a newborn.  I've definitely not wanted to make the same mistakes again with Lily who will be my last baby.  When she is crying or things are difficult, and I find myself wishing for when she is older, I quickly ignore those thoughts.  Because with two boys who are already two and almost four years old, I know all too well how quickly the time goes.  She is already 4 weeks old.  And I am enjoying every single minute.

So for now, I carry her around everywhere and I do what it takes to make her happy without worrying about creating bad habits.  She sleeps in my bed and when we're all ready I know she'll be able to transition to her own crib, even if it takes a little bit of work.  Mostly I'm just trying to live in the moment and not worry about anything else.

I feel like I've come full circle back to more of an attachment parenting style.  Though I really don't like to think of it as the 'Sears' style, or the 'Ferber' style, or the 'Baby Whisperer' style of parenting, I'd rather think of it as 'My Style'.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

I need to go to meetings.....

....for addiction to cute baby clothes, accessories and cloth diapers.

I have only bought ONE item for Lily so far (a cute little top from Walmart, I couldn't resist buying SOMETHING), but she already has an entire closet full of adorable clothes that will probably last her a year or more.  Lucky for us pretty much all my friends have little girls so have generously given us boxes and bags full of clothes.  I could just stare at all the pink girly stuff all day.  I've spent time arranging and rearranging her wardrobe.  When I have a spare minute and am walking by, I stop to go look at her clothes.  Yesterday I went through them an organized them all by size.  I can't wait until she can wear everything, though there is so much that she might never wear some things!

It's really a different game having a little girl compared to having little boys.  The boys stuff was definitely cute, but I never wanted to go out and buy lots of it, or dress them up in it.  With them it's always been more about function and comfort rather than looking cute.  With Lily I just want to go out and buy her all the cute dresses I can find.  I love putting her in little dresses.  She already has some really amazing ones waiting for her.  Tyler's aunt in California sent us a box of stunning dresses, I can't wait until they fit her.

A few weeks ago I ordered her first cloth diapers.  I was really excited to get the chance to do cloth from the start, since I didn't do it with Tristan and only started with Finn when he was 10 months old.  For months I have had my diapers picked out, I was just waiting for her to arrive to have the chance to get them.  She looks so cute in her little cloth diaper bum with all the cute prints.  It's fun co-ordinating her diapers with her outfits.  I don't know why anyone wouldn't use cloth!  But unfortunately I couldn't get as many as I need so I'm barely making it day to day with the ones we have before I have to wash them again, which is kind of frustrating.  I need to get some more, hopefully soon.  I already have them picked out!

Another thing I really want to get for her is leg warmers.  I've always thought they were so cute and wanted to get some for my baby, but they always seemed like more of a girl thing (though I know they make them for boys too).  They look so cute and are great for cooler weather to keep baby's legs warm and still make diaper changes easy because you don't have to take off pants or tights.  Plus they are super adorable with cloth diapers!

Lily also needs some more hair accessories.  I finally got two cute hair bands from Tyler's aunt that look so adorable on her.  I would love to get some more hair bands but also some little baby clips for her hair.  I have been looking for them but haven't been able to find any so far.

I wish I had more money to spend on cute stuff for her!  And of course now that I want to buy her all this cute stuff, I want to buy some more for the boys too.  Go figure!

It's funny because I don't consider myself a particularly fashionable person and really couldn't care less about clothes or accessories for myself.  I never buy myself new clothes and when I do they are usually boring and cheap.  But I wish I could go nuts on a shopping spree for my kids.

I need to stop looking a cute baby stuff online or else I really will need to start going to meetings for baby stuff addiction!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Life with 3

It's busy.  When you add another child to a family, it's not twice the amount of work, it's more like triple or quadruple the amount.  The work load increases significantly with every new addition.  Often there is really no spare time, it's always go go go.

With that said, the transition to having 3 kids has been far easier and way less overwhelming than I anticipated.  When both my older children were born I remember feeling very overwhelmed and unable to tackle simple tasks without my head wanting to explode.  The thought of leaving the house with them was very scary.  I couldn't manage to keep up with the housework or the cooking while my boys were tiny babies.  I think Finn was probably about 9 months old before I felt I could keep the house clean and cook meals for the family on my own!

I anticipated much the same this time around and was not looking forward to the feeling of being hopelessly helpless around the house while the mess accumulated, but it hasn't been like that at all.  We really haven't stopped for much of anything since Lily has been born, rather we have just carried on as usual.  We go to all our usual outings, and I've been able to keep up with my housework and laundry without much backlog.  Between Tyler and I we've been able to keep up with home cooked meals just like before she was born.  Good thing too, because we really hadn't prepared by making freezer meals ahead of time!

It helps a lot that Tyler's job right now is quite flexible so he can be around when I need him.  Some mornings he helps before he leaves to work, and he comes home for lunch most days.  He is also home early enough to help make dinner which is a big help.  We make a good team when it comes to getting stuff done around the house.

The boys are a handful but still relatively easy compared to most other kids their ages I think!  They are loud and hyper most of the time, but fairly independent which makes it easy to take care of all three kids because they are not constantly needing me to do things for them.  Tristan can be a really big help when he wants to, and actually has been since Lily has been born.  He can get snacks and drinks for him and Finn, and he can help Finn put his shoes on to go outside.  He can dress himself now with minimal help and take himself to the bathroom.  All that stuff makes a huge difference.

Lily has been a relatively easy-going and adaptable baby.  She is starting to become a bit of a fussy-pants and I think she might be following in Finn's footsteps as a fussy baby, but since there is no time to slow down she just has to tag along for the ride.  For the most part though I can just put her in the baby carrier which calms her right down and we can go anywhere like that.  As the third child I suspect she has no choice but to just go with the flow!

So we are keeping up just fine around here.  Our days are pretty much the same as they were before, only now it just takes a little extra time to get anything done or get out the door, but it's all good.