Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Night Weening Success

It may have been a fluke, but last night the baby slept from 9 until 6:30 without asking to nurse!  *and here I am doing the happy-I-got-some-sleep dance*  Awe, she's growing up so fast.  
I also woke up about 15 minutes before she did, completely awake and feeling more rested than usual. Therefore, it seems that 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep = 7 hours of nursing and sleeping sleep.  Oh, I will be relishing this joy all day. Here is a pic of my little fatty:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Side Effects Include Drowsiness

I must not be as healthy as I think I am because I was struck down with a UTI last week.  To my despair it did not go away with cranberry juice, water, a shower, and a night's rest.  It did not go away on day two after taking dairy and sugar out of my diet, drinking kombucha with cranberry, and a herbal remedy from Whole Foods.  Day three I was dragging at work, but still determined to fight it off.  My boss let me go home and I rested on the couch.  I was feeling better.  But once the kids got home i started feeling the burn again.  My lover cooked me a delicious steak dinner with loads of garlic.  While eating it i noticed that all the times that I felt the most pain were when I was running after the kids, even if I was trying to take it easy.  As much as I love them, i guess that I am not capable of relaxing around them.  So the next day I woke up feeling ok, as usual, but then when Nalini woke up I started to feel pain again.  At that point it was time to throw in the towel and head to the doctor, who gave me a couple prescriptions.  I said, "is it safe to nurse on these?"  She ripped one of them up and instructed me to pump and dump a couple hours after taking the anti-biotic and then I could nurse until taking the next dose.  But, when I received the pills the liner said 'no nursing.'  After a talk with the pharmacist, he convinced me that all the anti-biotics would have the same warning and that it was important i took the one that was prescribed because that is specific to the type of bacteria that I have.    *sigh*  it was hurting too bad at this point not to take it.
So that meant that now is time to night wean Nalini.  How sad, but I must take this as an opportunity to be tough with her about stopping night feedings.  She wakes me up at least three times a night.  She is 14 months old and still sleeping in bed with me, right next to me.  We don't even have a crib or bed for her.  Well, we had one, but then started using it for storage.
Mariano is convinced that we can do it.  Apparently when I am not around she sleeps through the night.
So when she woke up, i started stroking her face and singing her a song.  She cried and did the sign for milk, and tried to undress me, and nuzzled my chest.  But, I told her that she needed to go to sleep and i couldn't give her any milk.  Eventually she stopped crying and fell asleep.  She woke up multiple times throughout the night, and I was sooo tired, but I held out until about 4am.
Then the next night went about the same, and the next as well.  I am hoping that this night she gets used to being denied milk, but i am worried that she is confused about getting it sometimes and not other times.  I wish that I could hold out until daylight.
Now my UTI is pretty much gone, but my stomach hurts, probably from the anti-biotics.  i have been taking probiotics and eating yogurt, but still...
Considering going Paleo because I noticed that it hurts more following grains.  But, what on earth would Kaio eat if there were no grains?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Admitedly Sending More $$ to Saudi Arabia

It is mid February and we have already broken one of our New Year's resolutions!
We vowed and we shook hands to agree not to buy a car this year.  We would remain a one car family since our SUV got stolen last November.  But alas, the Northern VA suburbs are not friendly territory to the alternative transportation inclined.  We did manage to stay one-car from 2005-2009; until #2 was born.  But with the second child came a second location for daycare and no way to get there by bus and still make it to work at a reasonable hour.  Plus who takes an infant on a bus?  Well, I would be that person :) if there was daycare off the bus route.
So we bought car number #2 after she was born, and an SUV at that (I think they are hideous unless covered in dirt, stomping through the dessert).  But we got one for the cargo space, with the good intentions of taking trips out to the beach for camping.  Luckily it got stolen.  
Since then we have been living through the snow storm and cold winter by the grace of my aunt who loaned us one of her SUVs.  People in this area have lots of cars.  
I guess that you could say that I am all about consolidation.  That's why I was hoping that we could consolidate our vehicle needs back into one car and make do.  So I offered to bike to work, which is about 5 miles away.  Well, Mari was not happy about that idea and thinks that it is way too dangerous and cold. My response: "I used to bike 5 miles up a mountain to get to my internship in college!  I like the challenge."  But, that was during a West-Coast summer, and there were bike lanes.  
Mariano's work is much closer, only a mile away, and there are sidewalks.  He has walked to work on many occasions back when we were one-car-family.  But, now-a-days there are 6-foot snow banks on the road and no sidewalks! 
Since my aunt needed her car back, we went to the bike shop on Friday to get Mari a bicycle.  He found a cool looking shinny green one.  I was secretly hoping that would be the end of the car search.  
But no.  He wanted a car too.  And now I tread lightly on pushing my anti-car ideology on him (they are expensive, depreciating assets that are bad for the environment).  
A while ago I said something stupid like, "you come from Brazil and so many people there live without cars.  The need for cars is a product of America's  consumerist culture, egotistical spirit, and disregard for the environment, and I through that you would be better than that coming from a different world view."  
To which he heard, "oh so because I come from a third world country I don't deserve to have a car then."
So now I try to be careful not to let my minimalistic tendencies spoil his American dream.  
We got a pretty cool car: a Ford Freestyle.  It is a station wagon with three rows of seats and all wheel drive.  So it has the space of a large SUV, but gets much better gas mileage.  It also tears though the snow without any problem.  We scored a luxury model. It has a DVD player in it to keep the kids occupied on long trips, and a Navi system from 2006 that is completely clueless and got me lost in SE DC on the way home from the dealership.  
So I hope this is the end all to our car needs until we move to a farm and get us a pick-up truck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Still Potty Trained? Yes!

....I'm still walking on cloud nine from Kaio really being potty trained.  Really?  Really?  I have been spending about $50 a month on diapers for the last 2.5 years and now it is over!  Yup, diapers are expensive when you get the unbleached fancy pants ones.  Well, he has just stepped right into the role of potty trained kiddo.  We even got past the trouble that we were having with him repeatedly making poo-poo in his diapers at bedtime: we put a toilet in his room.  Now he just gets out of bed and goes by himself.
I have noticed that the days when he is really hyper at bedtime he has a couple bowel movements at night.  I'm not sure what or why this is.  But, if I put him to bed when he has a lot of energy, he usually ends up cleaning the pipes a couple times.
Nalini like sitting on the potty too.  I'm pretty sure that she is going to pick up quick.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Snoverkill Potty Breakthrough

The day I have been waiting 3 years for is finally here!  Kaio has been going in the potty by himself for two whole days!  Finally after flirting with potty training for about a year, he has done it!  And, the solution now seems so easy, i wish that I had tried it sooner: putting him in underwear and letting him wet himself!
Monday I ran out of diapers and by default was forced to keep him in underpants all day.  He wet them, I changed them and his pants, put new ones on, washed the old ones with the pants, repeat. all day long!  He even took a dump in them, and I just kept persistent with the underpants.  Since pooping himself and then one more pee pee in the pants, he has been going in the potty every time.  We even left the house for a while and he held it and then went in the potty when we got home.
I have tried so many other things over the last year.  I have tried giving him little presents, giving him chocolate chips, reading on the toilet, potty charts, positive reenforcement, cloth training pants, and even no pants.  But what he really needed was a cold turkey switch to big boy pants!
Mariano put him in a training diaper when he took a nap today and he pooped in his diaper.  Then I changed him and put him in underpants with Thomas the Tank Engine print.  I told him not to dirty Thomas and I put a little potty in his room and told him to go in that if he needed.  Well, to my amazement he did!  He work up from his nap and made a poo-poo in the little toilet!  I think putting it in his room was key to success.
Oh and the toilet I got him is the Bjorn potty chair, which turns out is the very best according to multiple accounts from fellow holistic moms.  I made a kind of crazy trip to Target to get one yesterday, in the snow.  Mariano was not so happy about that idea, but I think it all worked out after today's success. Or as Mariano calls it, "economizing a diaper."  Yes, we have been spending about $50 a month on chlorine free diapers for Kaio.  So this will be a huge money saver!
Since we've been snowed in from work, daycare, and pretty much everything else, we've been hanging out in the house being silly.  Nalini is growing up and developing so fast.  She is very attentive, joyous, and smart.  She has started saying some words in English and Portuguese and is getting good at communicating through sign language.  In this picture she asked me to put some puppets on her hands and then she walked around the house having them talk to each other; basically like as she jiggles them up and down.  Omg. it is so cute.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Merging Work and Family

Kaio's Coop daycare was closed today due to two feet of snow falling over the weekend.  My mom was snowed into her neighborhood, and both Mari and I needed to work, so I stayed home with the kids.  Working from home and taking care of the kids.  I thought it would be an impossible task, but really it was not so bad.  I sat them down with a movie and some toys.  Made them lunch and left it with them to eat and toss on the floor as they pleased as I held a meeting over the phone, and stealthily muting when there was some crying episode or fighting.  Nala came into my room balancing a princess plate full of beans and rice, and with a big smile on her face she handed it to me like she was sharing.  Of course right after she handed it to me she yanked it back and it dumped all over the floor.  She's so cute.

Kaio is potty training.  The thing is that he is totally in control and totally conscious of peeing and pooping and holding it and everything.  The only thing in between him and success is his stubbornness.  I have been trying to give him real underpants so that he feels uncomfortable when he wets himself.  It works, but he still doesn't want to go sit on the potty sometimes.  I might have given up after the third wet pants, but i was out of diapers.  Sometimes I like to run out of things just to prove my independence from them.  So we kept with the underpants.  He even shat in them during his nap.  So I changed his poopy pants in the shower while on a conference call.  And then he went back to sleep.
Overall I was able to get all my work done, well the minimum and still look like I'm working.  The toughest part was to ignore the urge to clean and fold laundry, and instead focus my attention on work or quality time with the kids.  It was great to see them all day long and play occasionally.  I felt guilty for turning on the TV as a substitute for my attention.  But, I imagine that if I could be a stay at home mom then i do activities instead.  I would really like that.  I hope that eventually we will be in a place where I can transition to working less hours and have a day or two with the kids.  I don't think that we are in a place to make that happen anytime soon though.  I know it is my fault for not being financially prepared enough to have kids.  But, that is the trade off for having kids early and buying a house.  booo for expensive mortgages.  I am totally day dreaming about moving to a farm today.  If I ever have any more kids I vow to be a stay at home mom, at least part time.  Hopefully Nalini and Kaio will not be jealous.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Once getting pregnant with Kaio, i vowed not to succumb to consumerism: the brainwashing that makes you think you need the crib with baby print bed sheets, bumper, curtains, the baby bouncer, the baby Einstein, the educational development toys that stimulate sensory development, etc.  I wanted none of it.  So for most of my kids life i have been minimalistic with their items and relying on craigslist, freecycle, second hand sales, and gifts from family and friends to provide their clothes and toys.  Well we've been managing.  Occasionally i would buy some handmade wood toys, especially in Brazil where the prices are good for us.  But in general not much buying toys.  Instead, I've been trying to teach the kids to be creative with trash.  I mean, in Brazil kids play with deflated soccer balls and have a good time, so I'm never going to be convinced that we NEED anything special.
Well the paradigm is shifting.  Kaio has been getting into popular movies and shows, like Cars and Thomas the Tank Engine.  When we went to New York there was a group of kids in Central Park playing with little dye cast Cars characters, and he joined them and had so much fun replaying the movie action with the little cars.  When I saw that, I decided that they were good for him to play out activities and see that he could control a little world of his own. We also got him a Thomas the Tank Lego Duplo set and he loves the Thomas so much that he used to take it with him EVERYWHERE.  He was so excited about his Thomas.  luckily that phase of needing to take Thomas everywhere with him has passed.
I know that many people discourage brand characters because they believe that they cloud creativity and imagination.  I used to feel like that and think Dora was a freak. But for Kaio, I have now seen that they are beneficial.  Since we have started exposing him to some movies, I have seen that they are actually helping him learn different ways to interact with the world and different situations that he can practice though mimicking.  Maybe he is a bit like me: I can paint really beautiful when I am looking at a scene but I am awful at painting an image from my imagination.
Since they are getting older and it is winter, so i want them to be entertained with things in the house and I want items that stimulate their imagination.  Since we don't have as much time as I would like to make stuff and crafts out of trash, I've been looking for good non-toxic toys for them to enjoy.  I have found a couple winners that I wanted to share.
I got Nalini the Green Toys Tea Set (ordered it from or amazon) .  It is made out of recycled yogurt containers and is also made in the USA.  I have been very impressed that it does not feel frail and icky like plastic toys can sometimes feel.   We have been having tea parties and she has been slowly learning to hold cups sturdy and practicing drinking and stirring.  I put some crumpled paper in the sugar dish and that was fun to pretend with.   Kaio has a recycling truck from the same company that he got for his birthday and that has been a winner as well.
Then for Kaio's new toy I got him an Automoblox.  It is like a wooden Lego car.  You can take all the pieces apart and figure out how to put them back together. It is like a 3 dimensional puzzle.  They are German engineered and very chic.  I only got him the mini because the full size can run between $25 - $40 a piece.  But, he seems to like it so I may make the investment.  If you get multiple ones then you can mix and match the parts.  I wish that they made ones that were trains, not cars, because he is obsessed with trains right now.  He used to be obsessed with cars last year, so this would have been an even better toy back then.  But this still manages to keep his attention for a while, and probably would even more if he had a couple to mix and match.


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