Plugged duct/mastitis :(

It seems I have either a plugged duct (or ducts) and/or mastitis. πŸ™ My left breast started hurting last night, and, despite having both Ava and Julian nurse on that side, it wasn’t any better this morning. I talked to my midwife today and she gave me a list of things to do to treat it – including WishGarden Mastitis Remedy – 4 droppersful every 2 hours, drinking Emer-gen-C – 3 times a day, and Echinacea tea (to boost my immune system) – 2 times per day, hot compress (with WishGarden Mastitis Poultice – optional) 4 times a day, as well as lots of rest. I took a nap this afternoon, but am still feeling crappy. (Thankfully, my parents are still in town to help out or I can’t imagine I’d get any rest at all!) She said if it’s not better by the morning, to call her. I’m hoping that since I caught it very early that I can nip it in the bud and not have to go to the doctor for antibiotics and have to deal with the risk of Julian or myself developing thrush after that. So we’ll see what the morning brings. I’m trying to think positively.

I’ve heard that it’s more common to develop these issues with second babies than it is with the first, because you get more lax about positioning and latch, etc. I feel very fortunate that I never had any issues in the 2 1/2 years of nursing Ava (pre-Julian), because, quite frankly – this sucks.

Anyway, I wanted to post about it and the treatment options in case it might help anyone else out there dealing with this. There’s also lots of good info re: plugged ducts and mastitis on kellymom.com.

Multiplication

These days I’m wishing I could clone myself – especially in the middle of the night when Ava wakes up upset and wants only mommy. It’s happened a few times in the last few nights and, thankfully, I’ve been able to lie in bed with her while she falls back asleep, without Julian needing me (i.e. my boobs). However, I’m sure a time will come when I need to be in two places (i.e. with her AND with Julian) at the same time.

I’m sure having a clone would come in handy during the day too. The real me could spend time with the kids, while my clone tends to housework, making dinner, etc. In my spare time (ha!), I’ll need to figure out how to swing that. πŸ˜‰

Julian Emerson is here!

We have sooooo very much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving day, namely the birth of our healthy, beautiful baby boy – Julian Emerson – who was born at 2:14 p.m. at our home, after a very fast and intense labor. (Congrats to Vivacious Vegan for guessing his name correctly!) We were very lucky that our midwife was already here (to draw my blood to make sure I was not showing signs of HELLP syndrome – something we never had time or the need to do – and check in on me). I started having contractions in the middle of the night, but nothing I couldn’t breathe through until around 12:30 this afternoon. Then I went from having some really intense contractions (that I had to vocalize through) to having the urge to push to my water breaking all in a matter of minutes. It’s amazing how fast it all happened!

Needless to say, because it all progressed so quickly, the professional photographer we hired to document the birth didn’t make it. Hell, we didn’t even have time to call her until I was already pushing. I think we may have her do some newborn and family pictures in a week or two instead.

In fact, my sister barely got here before he was born!

As for the “lil” (ha!) guy’s birth stats, he weighed in at a hefty 9 lbs., 8 oz., was 22 inches long (though they will remeasure tomorrow because that seems awfully long), and had a 15 cm head! Big boy.

Julian is doing great and is nursing well. I am feeling pretty good myself and had only minor tearing (requiring 4 stitches).

It is certainly a Thanksgiving Day we will never forget and we will always be thankful for the little boy we received today. Jody, Ava and I are all in love with him. πŸ™‚ There were some unexpected bumps and turns along the way (thank God for my awesome midwife and her partner), but it all worked out perfectly in the end. What an amazing ride this has been. πŸ™‚

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the new member of our family:

Daddy and Ava cutting the cord:




Last big hurrah; midwife appt.; and my scary β€œduh” moment

LAST BIG HURRAH

I went out with a bunch of mommy friends tonight for what will probably be my last big hurrah (i.e. night out alone) before baby boy arrives. It wasn’t anything fancy – just a get-together at a local pizza place – but it was nice to be out alone, among other women. πŸ™‚

Three of them brought me frozen meals for our family for after baby comes (yay!!), so I have more to add to my stash now.

I don’t think I mentioned it, but we bought a deep freezer a couple weekends ago and I’ve been slowly filling it up. In fact, just this weekend I made a lasagna and chicken & bean enchiladas to freeze.

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NEARLY 39 WEEKS – MIDWIFE APPT.

I had my almost 39 week midwife appointment today (I’ll be 39 wks on 11/9). All continues to go well. She said the baby is measuring right at 39 weeks and feels to be about 7 1/2 lbs at this point. Ava was 8 lbs, 4 oz., so I’m expecting this lil guy to be at least 8 lbs as well. She said his head is down very low, though she can’t tell if he’s engaged without doing an internal exam. We may do one at my next week appointment if he isn’t born before then. Then I can get an idea if I’m dilated at all too. But I don’t see a point in finding that out before I’m nearly 40 weeks since I know lots of women go weeks dilated at 2-3 cm (or more) before baby is born. So no need to get my hopes up that this is happening anytime soon.

I haven’t had anything happen that makes me think labor is imminent at this point, just lots of toning (Braxton-Hicks) contractions. And I’ve been feeling a fair amount of pressure in my uterus when baby boy moves, but that’s because he’s running out of room. I told Jody last night that someone needs to post an eviction notice to him soon. πŸ˜‰ The fact that I can sometimes feel him above/over my ribs is a bit weird. Like how does the uterus go up that high?? My midwife said that by the time a baby is full-term, the uterus has expanded to 40 times it’s original size. Amazing.

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MY SCARY “DUH” (AKA PREGNANT MOMMY BRAIN) MOMENT TODAY

After my midwife appointment today, Ava and I stopped at Walgreen’s to pick up a stethescope for her (Ava). She’s been fascinated by listening to baby brother’s heartbeat (as well as her own, her baby doll’s, and mine) at my midwife appointments for the past several months and I figured it’s about time I pay the $10 and get her a real stethescope of her own.

We went out to the car and I put her in her carseat, then opened up the stethescope box to give it to her to play with. Well, the darn thing needed to be assembled, so I told her I’d do it real quick, shut her door and took it into the front seat with me. I put it together and gave it to her and we were on our way to the Post Office, a few miles away.

We were driving down a side street, when I looked in the rearview mirror to see Ava’s carseat, but no Ava. Confused by what I was seeing, I turned around to see her trying to reach her baby off the seat and I realized – OH MY GOD, I NEVER BUCKLED HER INTO THE CARSEAT! Good lord. In the excitement of opening up and assembling the stethescope, I put her in her seat, but never fastened her in. GAH!!! I immediately pulled over and buckled her in, thanking my lucky stars that nothing had happened in the 2 miles or so we’d driven since Walgreen’s.

That’s something I’ve never done before and I hope I never do again. Scary.

The circumcision post

It’s amazing the number of things you never have to consider before becoming a parent – breastfeed or formula feed; cloth diapers or disposables; vaccinations; when to start solids; organic vs. conventional foods; public school, private school or homeschool; and, of course, if you are having a boy – whether or not to circumcise.

I hope to write about my feelings, opinions and choices regarding circumcision and my son, knowing full well that everyone who reads this blog will not agree with me. I think that anyone who has a son will have their list of reasons for why they decided for or against circumcision. I simply wish to share my reasons here (and some of the information I came across along the way) for deciding against it.

I hope that by including some links below to reputable sources, other parents who are trying to decide what is best for their son can make an informed decision – whether it be to circumcise or not.

I am not here to judge and it is my hope that any discussion that happens below in the comments remain civil and respectful, despite how strongly you may feel about this topic. I also ask that any “anonymous” posters please sign their posts with a name. Thank you.

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The short and sweet answer as to why Jody and I are not having our son circumcised is that we can’t find a single reason to indicate that it is a necessary procedure.

I believe that the body we are born with, in its entirety, is that way for a reason. I think that each different part has a unique purpose for existing. If we didn’t need a certain part, I believe that over time we would evolve so that it no longer existed.

In doing my research on circumcision, I came across a lot of interesting information. Some of it has to do with the origins of circumcision in the United States, some about the actual procedure, some about the effects of circumcision and about the current rates of circumcision in the U.S. I read a lot more than I will blog about here, but these are some things I thought were worth mentioning.

“Circumcision started in America during the masturbation hysteria of the Victorian Era, when a few American doctors circumcised boys to punish them for masturbating. Victorian doctors knew very well that circumcision denudes, desensitizes, and disables the penis. Nevertheless, they were soon claiming that circumcision cured epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, eczema, bed-wetting, hip-joint disease, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, wet dreams, hernia, headaches, nervousness, hysteria, poor eyesight, idiocy, mental retardation, and insanity. In fact, no procedure in the history of medicine has been claimed to cure and prevent more diseases than circumcision. As late as the 1970s, leading American medical textbooks still advocated routine circumcision as a way to prevent masturbation.” — Paul M. Fleiss, MD The Case Against Circumcision

Uh, I’m not a guy and no expert, but I am pretty sure that circumcision does NOT prevent masturbation.

“Today the reasons given for circumcision have been updated to play on contemporary fears and anxieties; but one day they, too, will be considered irrational. Now that such current excuses as the claim that this procedure prevents cancer and sexually transmitted diseases have been thoroughly discredited, circumcisers will undoubtedly invent new ones. But if circumcisers were really motivated by purely medical considerations, the procedure would have died out long ago, along with leeching, skull-drilling, and castration. The fact that it has not suggests that the compulsion to circumcise came first, the “reasons,” later.” — Fleiss

The fact that new reasons to continue the circumcision practice are being invented is rather disturbing if you ask me.

One website I came across in my research shows step-by-step (graphic) pictures of an actual circumcision of a newborn boy. What Happens During Circumcision There is also a video there, but the pictures alone were more than enough for me. I don’t think I could’ve stomached the video. I had never thought much about the actual procedure itself. I figured that the foreskin was clamped and removed without much effort and the baby was left to heal over the next week or whatever. I didn’t think about the baby needing to be restrained, whether or not any type of anesthesia is used, the foreskin needing to be pried apart from the penis, the amount of bleeding involved, the raw exposed penis, etc. Not to mention the child crying in pain. πŸ™ It was not easy to look at.

There’s a laundry list of “things” that are lost forever when a circumcision takes place. While all of these things in the list are noteworthy, I thought I would mention a few here that stood out to me:

“When a baby boy’s natural and intact penis is “circumcised,” this is what is lost forever:
** An estimated 240 feet of microscopic nerves, including branches of the dorsal nerve.
** Several feet of blood vessels, including the frenular artery and branches of the dorsal artery. The loss of this dense vascularity interrupts normal blood flow to the shaft and glans of the penis, obviously damaging its natural function and possibly stunting its complete and healthy development.
** The immunological defense system of the soft mucosa, which may produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme, also found in mothers milk, and plasma cells, which secrete immunoglobulin antibodies.
** The essential “gliding” mechanism. If unfolded and spread out flat, the average adult foreskin measures about 15 square inches, the size of a postcard. This abundance of specialized, self-lubricating mobile skin gives the natural penis its unique hallmark ability to smoothly “glide” in and out within itselfÒ€”permitting natural non-abrasive masturbation and intercourse, without drying out the vagina or requiring artificial lubricants.” — Gary L. Harryman – What is Lost to Circumcision

I know some parents may be concerned about whether or not an intact penis requires special care. Personally, having no experience with an uncircumcised penis in the past, I had no idea what the answer was before asking friends of mine who’s sons were left intact. FYI:

“The natural penis requires no special care. A child’s foreskin, like his eyelids, is self-cleansing. For the same reason it is inadvisable to lift the eyelids and wash the eyeballs, it is inadvisable to retract a child’s foreskin and wash the glans. Immersion in plain water during the bath is all that is needed to keep the intact penis clean.” — Fleiss

Also worth noting that the foreskin should never be forced to retract before it is ready.

“As noted, the foreskin and glans develop as one tissue. Separation will evolve over time. It should not be forced. When will separation occur? Each child is different. Separation may occur before birth; this is rare. It may take a few days, weeks, months, or even years. This is normal. Although many foreskins will retract by age 5, there is no need for concern even after a longer period. Some boys do not attain full retractability of the foreskin until adolescence.” — Newborns: Care of the Uncircumcised Penis

Regarding the rate of circumcision in the world and U.S.:

“Circumcision is almost unheard of in Europe, South America, and non-Muslim Asia. In fact, only 10 to 15 percent of men throughout the world are circumcised, the vast majority of whom are Muslim. The neonatal circumcision rate in the western U.S. has now fallen to 34.2 percent.” — Fleiss

“The nationwide circumcision rate had been fluctuating in the low 60 percent range for some years, but a decline in the percentage of boys circumcised started in 2002 and continued into 2003. From 2002 to 2003 declines occured in all four census regions. Non-circumcision has been the norm in the Western Region for more than a decade.” — U.S. Circumcision Incidence

I think it’s important to note that the circumcision rate is dropping in the United States because the old parental concern of not wanting a child to be teased because they look differently from the other boys will no longer be an issue if the ratio of circ’d boys to uncirc’d boys is approaching 50-50. I know in my own circle of friends, the ratio of circ’d boys to uncirc’d boys (babies and toddlers I mean) is probably more like 20 (circ’d) to 80 (uncirc’d) or even slightly higher in favor of the uncircumcised boys. Some parents I know (both in “real life” and on message boards) had their first son circumcised before they had done much research on the topic, and then, after learning more about the procedure, chose not to circumcise their second son.

(And now at the risk of sharing TMI…) Having never been with an uncircumcised man (yes, you can infer from that that Jody is circumcised), I was very interested to learn that not only is the pleasure of the male affected by circumcision, but also the pleasure of the female. (I mentioned a bit about this above as well.)

“One of the foreskin’s functions is to facilitate smooth, gentle movement between the mucosal surfaces of the two partners during intercourse. The foreskin enables the penis to slip in and out of the vagina nonabrasively inside its own slick sheath of self-lubricating, movable skin. The female is thus stimulated by moving pressure rather than by friction only, as when the male’s foreskin is missing.” — Fleiss

Like I said above, I couldn’t find a reason to convince me that circumcision is necessary for our son. I don’t feel the need to provide a list of all of the reasons against it. They are easy enough to find online. By reading through some of the links I provided below, you can read more information for yourself if you so desire.

I feel it is worth noting that I tried to find some pro-circumcision websites to include in my list (to keep it balanced), but 99% of the information I found “out there” is anti-circumcision. The one site (a members-only list serv “where circumcision is discussed and always supported”) I did find turned out to be centered around pornography associated with circumcision so I removed it from my list. The fact that it is a porn site is not apparent from anything posted on the public side of it.

In conclusion, I don’t feel that it is my right to make the decision to remove a part of my son’s anatomy without his consent. I believe that circumcision is a personal choice – one that should be made by the person who owns the penis. By leaving my son intact, he can always decide when he gets older that he wants to have a circumcision. If I were to circumcise him as a baby, he wouldn’t have the option of taking that back. I feel it is his body, his penis, and his choice.

Resources:
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers
Circumcision Resource Center
The Case Against Circumcision – an eye-opening, very informative (IMO) article By Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH (interesting to note that Fleiss is Jewish)
My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin – By Stacey Greenberg
The Case Against Circumcision Discussion Forum on Mothering.com
What Happens During Circumcision? – Graphic photos/video of the circumcision process on a newborn

NEW AAP CIRCUMCISION POLICY RELEASED
Protect Your Uncircumcised Son: Expert Medical Advice for Parents
Circumcision Information and Resource Pages
Doctors Opposing Circumcision

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Nursing a toddler (a 2-year-old) while pregnant

I said a long time ago that I wanted to write about my experiences nursing a toddler – not only for my own record, but in hopes that it might provide some insight to someone else out there. I figure I need to tackle this topic soon (and actually started this entry a couple weeks ago), while I still have time to reflect on it and blog about it before baby boy gets here, so here goes…

I always knew that I would nurse my children, but I never thought about the length of time I would do it. The American Academy of Pediatrics has their recommendations, as does the World Health Organization. Both seem to agree that breastfeeding should continue “as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” I figured I would play it by ear with Ava, allowing her to self-wean if possible, but not commit to anything one way or the other.


She celebrated her second birthday in June 2006 and nursing continued. By this time, Ava was only nursing a few times a day and had night-weaned as of 22 months. I’m not sure if the drop in nursing came as a result of her age or as a result of my milk drying up with my pregnancy. I had become pregnant with our second child in February 2006, and my milk dried up somewhere around 15 weeks pregnant.

While nursing a toddler was not something that bothered me, nursing a toddler while pregnant (with all the lovely pregnancy hormones coursing through my system) and without any milk coming out was less than appealing to me. I kept at it despite the fact that it wasn’t always easy, partially because I felt like it was easier to grin and bear it rather than wean. I know that may not have been the best way to respond and others chose different paths (which I can totally understand), but that’s how I handled it.

There was a time, several weeks ago, when I was seriously contemplating weaning Ava before baby boy is born. I was having such a hard time and feeling very overwhelmed with nursing (even though it wasn’t that often) and life in general. But after talking with several other moms who are either nursing now while pregnant or have nursed while pregnant, and reading the chapter about nursing while pregnant and tandem nursing in “Mothering Your Nursing Toddler,” I was reassured that all of the feelings I was having were completely normal. Such a relief! That didn’t make nursing any easier, but it did reassure me that there was nothing wrong with me for feeling the way I did.

Here we are now – me at 37+ weeks pregnant and Ava at 28 months old. She is still nursing 1 to 2 times per day – which consists of always before bedtime (though she doesn’t nurse to sleep) and sometimes once in the middle of the day. I managed to cut out the morning nursing session fairly easily by way of distraction. When she does nurse now, I place restrictions on it and it’s only for 2 to 3 minutes at most, which is really all I can handle. There have been times when nursing is just too much for me at the time and I tell her that mommy is feeling frustrated, etc. She understands and has been fine with me placing restrictions, so it works for us.

I’m hoping that by continuing to nurse her, it will make her transition from being an only child to an older sister a bit easier, since we will still have that special connecting time together each day. I know that moms who wean are still able to connect with their older child, but maybe by sharing something as sacred to her as mommy’s milk with baby brother, it will help calm her uneasiness with the changes of having to share mommy with someone else. Time will tell.

I never expected nursing while pregnant to be as difficult as it has been. Hormones can do crazy things to a person. I can totally understand why women wean while they are pregnant and I wouldn’t have been too upset if Ava had decided to wean on her own. Of course, that didn’t happen. πŸ˜‰

I’m still not making any promises as to how long nursing will continue. We will take it day by day, even after baby boy comes. No matter what happens, I feel good about the nursing relationship Ava and I have had and know that we both have shared some precious memories together over the years.

I welcome any tales from mamas who have nursed while pregnant or tandem nursed. It’s always nice to know I’m not alone. Thank you. πŸ™‚

By the way, I did some searches for nursing a toddler and found this info on LLL’s site with “Toddler Tips”, as well as info about nursing while pregnant. Also found this with “Toddler Nursing Testimonials.”

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Vote for an International Breastfeeding Symbol

From Mothering.com:

The image of a baby bottle announcing the location of a “parents lounge” in an airport got us thinking: Is there an international symbol for breastfeeding? Similar to the familiar icons we’ve all seen indicating a handicapped parking spot or the women’s restroom, this image would be a recognizable symbol indicating that a place is breastfeeding friendly. Ideally, the space would be private, quiet, with a comfortable chair and an electrical outlet for pumping.

We called around and spoke to lactivists and breastfeeding organizations all over the world. We heard of a symbol in Canada and one in Singapore, but there doesn’t seem to be one international symbol for breastfeeding.

So we put out a call. We received an overwhelming response, over 500 entries from both the design and breastfeeding communities. While the images are currently copyrighted by the artists, we plan to make the winning image available worldwide (copyright-free, as a public domain image) with recommendations that it be used in workplaces, airports, malls, restaurants, conferences/expos, libraries, parks, or any public place.We’ve already heard from an airport and a university interested in using the winning symbol.

Vote for your favorite breastfeeding symbol here.

By the way, my friend’s husband entered the contest and his design made it into the finals! His is #4 in case ya want to show him some love. πŸ˜‰

A bit overwhelmed and out of sorts

I haven’t blogged the past few days because I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts. I’ve been having a lot of apprehension about the thought of having two kids in a short amount of time and wondering how in the world I’m going to have enough of myself to go around. How will I be able to take care of everybody and still care for myself?

I know mothers have been doing it for centuries and I will get through it, but I still have anxiety about it all. I worry that Ava will feel neglected after being the center of my world for the past two-plus years. I worry that baby boy won’t get the attention that Ava got while she was a baby. I worry that nobody will get any sleep and that I will be a walking zombie for months on end.

And, rationally, I know all of these fears are perfectly normal. I know that Ava won’t get the amount of attention that she’s used to. I know that baby boy won’t get the same attention that Ava got as a baby. And I know that sleep will certainly suffer for a while. But I know that we will all live through it, even though there will be hard times.

I also know that Ava and baby boy will have the attention and affection of each other throughout the years and that they will share a special bond unlike the bond they share with me or Jody – and that makes me smile. πŸ™‚

Part of all of this worry comes from the fact that I have had the role of primary caregiver at night for all of Ava’s life. When she wakes up at night even now, mommy is who she wants. Even though she night-weaned 6 months or so ago, she still wants only mommy to rub her back or cuddle her back to sleep. (Don’t get me wrong. Jody is a great daddy and helps out a lot, but in the middle of the night, only mommy will do.) I don’t know that I will be able to continue with this role once baby boy is here since I feel like he will have the greater need for me (nursing) in the middle of the night. I anticipate this meaning a lot of tears for a few nights while Ava adjusts to daddy having to comfort her back to sleep and that is hard for me, but I know we will all get through it.

I know that I need to accept help when it is offered or even *gasp* ask for it. Today was actually a good example of me realizing I needed a break and asking for help. Because I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed the past few days, I decided to call my sister and see if she could take Ava out to the park for a while so I could have some time just to myself. She was more than happy to help out and I got some practice some relaxation, watch “LOST” (which Jody taped for me last night since I was out at an acupuncture appointment) and get dinner started. It was wonderful and very much needed. πŸ™‚

I’m also realizing that there’s no way to predict how the first few weeks/months after baby boy joins us are going to go, so there’s no sense wasting time worrying about it now. I have to remember to live for today, and that’s it. Much easier for me to say than to put into practice, but maybe if I make it my mantra, I can do it.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me ramble as I attempted to sort out my thoughts. πŸ˜‰

Reflecting on my girl

With the birth of baby boy just 10 weeks (or so) away, I’ve been thinking about Ava a lot lately, specifically how fast she seems to be growing up. So I thought I’d take some time to reflect on my girl and where she’s at in this journey called life (and print it out for her baby book too).

Ava is 26 months old (2 years and 2 months for those of you mathematically-challenged) and fiercely independent. She loves to do or try to do things on her own, but has learned to ask for help when she needs it instead of just getting frustrated (though that still happens on occasion too). πŸ˜‰

Her vocabulary is amazing. Some of the noteworthy things she’s been saying lately are:
–“What you saying, mama/dada?” – when she doesn’t hear or understand what we’re telling her.
–“Why?” – Said for the first time a few days ago. I’m hoping I won’t hear that one again for a little while longer since I know it will soon become a favorite word. πŸ˜‰
–“I love you, mommy/dada/baby brother.” (Said unsolicited) – Melts my heart every time.
–“I need _______.” Insert pretty much anything in here, from “…to eat,” “…chocolate” – she’s her mother’s daughter, “…to watch my favorite songs” – referring to the Laurie Berkner music DVD grandma bought her, “…to go outside,” etc. The girl has “needs,” not just wants. πŸ˜‰
–She sometimes calls us *her* mama or *her* dada, like “What are you eating, my dada?” “What are you doing, my mama?”
–“I missed you, mommy/dada.” – After she’s been away from us for a little while. Sometimes she says it to me after she’s napped even. So sweet. πŸ™‚
–“Dangit.” – Her favorite expletive at present. Hey, it could be worse, right? πŸ˜‰
–She’s started using pronouns (he, she, me, you, her, him) on a regular basis.
–She also knows “Mommy’s name is Amy.” “Daddy is Jody.” and “Mommy is a woman.” “Daddy is a man.” “Ava is a little girl.”
–And she says some pretty cute things. Like the other day when we were driving around and she saw a doggy out of the car window, she said, “Get in my arms, doggy. I want to hold you.” πŸ™‚
–She’s also pretty wise. First, some background info: Whenever Ava gets particularly frustrated, we’ve encouraged her to go hit a pillow rather than throw toys, hit, etc. So the other night Jody was trying to do something and expressed some frustration and she said, “What happened, my dada?” And I told her that daddy was frustrated. And she said, “You need to go hit the pillow.” Dada went and hit the pillow and felt much better. πŸ™‚

We seem to be in the initial stages of potty learning. She woke up with a dry diaper two weekends ago so I encouraged her to sit on the potty. She sat on it until a little pee came out, then stood up excitedly and stopped peeing, saying “Yay, Ava!” So after we made a big deal out of that (and I was quite sure her bladder was still full), I asked if she wanted to try sitting on the potty again, which she did and promptly filled up with the remaining pee. Again, we praised her a lot. Since then she’s also pooped (on about 10 separate occasions) and peed several other times on the potty. After the first poop, she praised herself by saying “Yay Ava,” and then asked me “What happened to my butt?” Hehe. So I explained that the poop came out, etc. Anyway, I’m hoping to give her more opportunities to sit on the potty (i.e. let her run around with a naked butt during the day) and if it happens and she stays interested, great! We’ll continue to praise her like crazy. πŸ™‚ If not, we’ll try again when she’s ready. I admit the idea of having her out of diapers by the time baby brother comes is wonderful, but I’m not going to push her if she’s not ready. So far though, whenever she’s having naked time, she knows when she has to go potty and runs over and goes all on her own!

She’s definitely a caretaker and loves her many babies (all of whom she lovingly calls “Baby Trajan” after our friend’s baby of the same name). She can be very attentive to our needs, and always asks “What happened, mama/dada?” when she knows something is bothering us. She has also started rubbing my back lately when it is sore, then asks, “Is it all better now?” πŸ™‚

She has a great imagination and it’s such fun just to observe her playing. She has even pretended a clothes hanger was a mommy and the pants part of it that hung on it was the baby.

Ava loves to read – both on her own, flipping through the pages alone or having someone read to her. She will often pull out all of her books in a particular room and sit on the floor with them surrounding her as she “reads.” She’s always asking daddy for “one more book” at bedtime.

Waking up beside Ava in the morning is a wonderful way to start my day. She rolls over, puts her arm around my neck and says “Hi, mommy. I love you.” Then we generally cuddle, give hugs and kisses, and talk for 10-15 minutes before getting up to start our day. I’m going to miss that special time with her in a few more months (although, who knows, maybe it will still work out like that). We are in the process of trying to find an inexpensive twin bed to put next to ours so that Ava can sleep there and we can have room for baby brother in the big bed. We had a lead on a great one last weekend, but the lady sold it out from under us. **grumble, grumble**

My nursing relationship with Ava continues. It has it’s ups and downs (as you can imagine nursing while pregnant), but so far the positives have outweighed the negatives. I will write more about nursing while pregnant (the good and the bad) another time. I’m thankful I’ve been able to give Ava this gift of mama’s milk for this long (even though my milk dried up earlier in my pregnancy). I know she and I have both received tremendous benefits from it.

The picture above was taken at Aunt Carrie’s house a couple weeks ago after Ava discovered Aunt Carrie’s dress-up garb. LOL

Just me and my girl

I started out this week a little apprehensive because Jody would be out of town (at Siggraph in Boston) for the whole week and I would be taking on the single parent role. I had several things planned for Ava and I to do during the week, but I still worried about naps (since she hadn’t been napping on a regular basis for the past few weeks). I know she still needs a nap because she gets quite cranky and out of sorts if she doesn’t get one. And I know *I* still need her to nap because I get quite cranky and out of sorts if she doesn’t get one too! πŸ˜‰ Seriously though, I look forward to that two hours or so every day when I have some time to myself – to read, blog, work on decluttering the house (a project that I will blog about another day), make dinner, clean up the house, or take a nap if I need one. It’s valuable time that mommy needs to unwind. πŸ™‚

I’m happy to say that my apprehensiveness was quite unfounded because Ava and I (although we definitely missed Jody) have had a great week together AND…she’s napped every day! πŸ™‚

On Monday, we went grocery shopping and made banana muffins together. I used whole wheat flour this time instead of white flour and they were even more tasty.

On Tuesday, we went to a play group (open gym at Kangaroo Kingdom) in the morning. Then in the evening, I dropped Ava off with my friend’s husband Dax and son Creed (who’s 7 months older than Ava) and I got to go out to dinner with my friends. πŸ™‚ Dax took the kids for a ride in the Burley (bike trailer) up to a pond where they fed the fish and turtles and played and then, a couple hours later, brought them all back to the restaurant where we were still sitting outside on the patio gabbing. It was a pleasant surprise to see them pull up. Ava and Creed looked so cute just hanging out in the Burley together. Ava’s helmet (which was borrowed) kept falling over her eyes, so she was holding it up to peek out at us. My friend Brandy took pics and is going to send them to me, but I don’t have them yet. Anyway, I’m so thankful that Dax was able to watch the kids. I felt good about leaving Ava with someone I totally trust and was able to have a nice evening out. And Ava had so much fun with them. She keeps talking about feeding the turtles and, when I asked her about riding in the Burley, she said, “I told Creed – ‘this is fun.'” My little girl is growing up.

On Wednesday, we met friends at the Rec Center pool for swimming. Ava had a great time and I enjoyed soaking in the water for a while since my back was killing me the night before. I’m glad to see her getting more and more comfortable in the water since we’ve been swimming a few times this summer. I’d still like her to go to swimming classes (maybe this winter so she and Jody have something fun to do while I stay home w/ baby boy) so she can learn to stay afloat if she ever fell in and all of that. There have been too many stories on the news about little kids drowning in lakes, ponds, pools, etc. πŸ™ It definitely makes you worry about your own child’s safety. After all the swimming fun, we both took a long nap yesterday evening. It was very much needed.

Today we went for a walk (which just about did me in. Even though it wasn’t that far and wasn’t *that* hot, I needed to lie down for a bit after we got home – blah), did some playing in the yard, cleaned up the house a bit, did laundry, went to the grocery store, and I finished getting together about five bags of clothes, household items, and other things to donate to the Lupus Foundation tomorrow when they come to pick it up. It was funny because I’d been in the process of gathering things up to get rid of (i.e. donate) and trying to figure out where to drop them all off and with what charity when the LF called last week and asked if we had anything. So since their timing was right on, I said YES and they are getting a ton of stuff from us. πŸ™‚

Jody gets home late tonight then has to go into work tomorrow so we won’t actually see him until tomorrow night. I will be glad to have my hubby home and I know Ava will be thrilled to see daddy. She’s talked to him every night on the phone and has told me she misses him (and his coworker Tommy, who’s also out there – hehe). She keeps saying “Daddy’s still at Boston?”

I feel like this week together with just Ava has been especially good for us, because in a few short months, our lives will change dramatically with the addition of another family member. Ava will no longer get mommy’s undivided attention whenever she wants it and I will miss that special time with my girl. So this week has made me really appreciate what a wonderful child she is and how much I love her. And now that I’m about in tears, I will wrap this entry up.

The pic above is from Ava’s birthday – June 22, 2006.