Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top Ten Photos of 2013

I'm sure we all say this every year, but my, how 2013 has flown by!  I didn't blog as much as I would have liked, nor did I take as many photos as I'd hoped to, but here are my favourites from the past year:


First shared here.
 
First shared here.
 
Full story here.
First shared here.


First shared in this post.
My thoughts on four years of motherhood here.
Hands down, my favourite Instagram of the year.  Maybe the century. First shared here.
Birthday boy.
My happy boy at the pumpkin patch.  One of those posts I never got around to publishing!
My favourite Christmas gift of all time!
Tell me about your favourite photos this year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Gifts.



Christmas Eve kisses.

 
Happy Christmas morning faces.

 
Two of my favourite guys wrapped up in bows.

 
Happy holidays from the Lilahbility crew.
 
Rock on. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This one...

This one radiates joy.


This one's favourite word to say is already "no."

This one dances and "snaps" his fingers anytime he hears the faintest strains of music.


This one climbs anything that looks like a challenge.

This one's giggles could mend a broken heart.


This one has his daddy's sense of humour.

This one is a real charmer.


Watch out for this one!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

As A Mother

This post is dedicated to one of my best friends of all time, who, with the joyous birth of her son this morning, was herself reborn - as a mother. 

I wrote this a few weeks ago but, as I've been neglecting my little blog, hadn't gotten around to posting it yet.  I figure today is the day to hit the "publish" button, since this  everything I want her to know about motherhood.  I only hope it isn't too dark for such a happy occasion.

As a mother, your life will be forever changed.

As a mother, you will have some of the highest highs and lowest lows you have ever experienced in life.

As a mother, you will come to know certain things. You will develop a sixth sense.  You will become just the slightest bit clairvoyant.

As a mother, you will be a small being's source of nourishment, source of comfort, and whole world.

As a mother, you will know if your child is feverish just by brushing your lips against his forehead.

As a mother, you will sacrifice.

As a mother, your best self and your worst self will meet and shake hands. On a regular basis.

As a mother, you will be needed at just the moment when you thought you could give no more.

As a mother, you will dig down, dig in, dig deep.

As a mother, you will hold on.

As a mother, you will sometimes have to let go.

As a mother, you will deliver magic healing kisses.

As a mother, you will know a new, somewhat uncomfortable, level of vulnerability.

As a mother, you will be your own worst critic.

As a mother, you will find hidden reserves of patience you had no idea you possessed.

As a mother, you will worship ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.

As a mother, you will experience an unearthly connection to another soul.

As a mother, you will make mistakes.

As a mother, you will have to forgive yourself.

As a mother, you will know a love like no other.



Monday, September 9, 2013

The Great Big Baby-Led Weaning Post, Part 2


***For a run-down on how I decided to start Baby-Led Weaning, please see part 1.***

Getting Started

Henry's early solids included very soft-steamed or soft-cooked veggies, such as broccoli, yams, carrots, and spinach, and naturally soft fruits like very ripe pears, bananas, and melon.  These were almost always part of a family meal we were eating anyway. Whenever possible, we tried to cut them into manageable (long and thin) pieces for him to grasp with his fist. 

For example, I eat oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning, so Henry was also introduced to it early on.  You can easily make it into a finger food by cooling it to room temperature and cutting it into strips.  It holds up surprisingly well, but is also fun for babies to squish and play with.


 
Which brings me to my next point.  Food is very much about play and discovery in the early stages.  If you're going to go the BLW route, you have to be okay with that.  The rule of thumb is: food before one is just for fun.  (However, I think Henry may have missed that memo, because he has always eaten as if it was his job.)

Letting Go

I did my best not to worry about how much he was eating, but I have to admit, at times it was hard to sit back and let him take the reins.  I worried when he didn't eat much that it would affect his sleep (which wasn't great until he was about 9 months anyway, so who knows?) and when he ate tons I worried that he would spend less time nursing (which happens as they get more efficient anyway) or that he would become constipated.  Clearly, I'm a worrier, especially when it comes to my kids' food intake.  But it all seems to work out in the end, and BLW was an excellent exercise in relinquishing control.  A metaphor for many parts of my parenting journey.

We gradually increased how many solid meals we offered in a day, starting with dinner, then breakfast, and then finally lunch.  I didn't keep a food journal, so all of this is from memory, but if I recall correctly, I think he was on three meals a day by around nine months.  (This was following his lead.  He would literally get angry when we ate meals without offering him some, too.)  We also followed doctors' and nutritionists' guidelines of only introducing one new food every 5 days or so, watching for allergic reactions or sensitivities.


I was quite surprised at how quickly his fine motor skills caught up to his appetite.  He was extremely motivated and quickly learned to pick up small bits of food, such as kamut puffs and rice puffs.  This could simply be a difference between my two kids, but I noticed his fine motor skills improving much more quickly at this stage than Lilah's did, and my feeling is this could be partly due to BLW.
 

But What About Choking?

I was cautioned by a few friends early on about choking, but never experienced any problems with this with Henry.  Now, it is important to differentiate between gagging and actual choking.  Early on, he gagged fairly regularly, but I could see that it only his body's natural way of moving chunks of food he couldn't swallow from the back of his mouth to the front.  Lilah gagged with spoon feeding early on, too, so I knew this was not unique to BLW. And because we waited until he was sitting well on his own, we were confident that his system could handle it.  And, it almost goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that we watched him like a hawk anytime there was food anywhere near him.  If you are considering starting BLW with your own child but are concerned about choking, there are plenty of clips on YouTube to watch in order to prepare yourself.  Here's a video a friend emailed me when I was preparing to start BLW with Henry:

video
 

Isn't she adorable?  That was too much broccoli for her little mouth, but her physiology took care of it.  And you can see she isn't exactly traumatized by the experience - was that a little yawn between gags?  She was about six and a half months at the time of this video, and had no teeth.

Henry was rather a late bloomer in the teeth department, but that didn't stop him for a second.  His first two teeth appeared closer to nine months, and, at almost 13 months, he is just now working on his third and fourth.  He still manages to eat many different textures of food like a champ.



A Back-up Plan

Now, with all of that said, I supposed we weren't super hard-core with the BLW, since we did (and still do, sometimes) use packaged purees for when we were eating meals out and weren't sure if there were going to be any reasonable options for a baby.  These pouches



are incredibly useful.  They didn't have them when Lilah was a baby, and I was so happy to discover them this time around.  No more glass jars in my diaper bag!  I started by spoon feeding him the contents, but now he just grabs the package out of my hands and slurps it up in two seconds flat!  Many companies make pouches like these, but these particular ones are organic and from a company that was started in BC, so of course I am partial to them.  They are now available throughout Canada.

As I've said, BLW worked extremely well for both Henry and our family this time around.  It was easier, more relaxing, more fun, and felt far more natural than the spoon-feeding of fortified cereals and purees I did with big sister Lilah when she was a baby.  My two kids are different in just about every way possible, so who's to say if it would have worked as well for her as it did for Henry?  But in any case, I am very pleased we went the BLW route with Henry.

However you choose to feed your baby, happy eating!


 Would you, or have you, tried BLW?  Let me know what you think in the comments!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Things I Know... Because I'm Their Mom

This week's Monday Listicles topic is "Things I Shouldn't Know," and I decided to go with a bit of a twist on this one.  About anybody else, I probably shouldn't know these things, but about my own kids?  Knowing these things is part of what defines me as their mother.

I know their internal temperature settings, and I can tell if one of them is feverish just by holding their hand or putting my lips to their forehead.

I know how to tuck them in just so.

I know what they are talking about or pointing to when no one else can figure it out.

I am intimately acquainted with their digestive systems, including what time of day they are likely to need bathroom visits or diaper changes, what faces they make when they are working on something, and other matters that would be considered private if I hadn't birthed them.

I know the name and whereabouts of each doll and stuffed animal that matters to them.  And if I don't, I'm in deep, deep trouble.

I know each of their tickle spots.  And I'm not afraid to use this knowledge.

I know how to give magical kisses that instantly fix boo-boos and owies.

I am acutely aware of their likes and dislikes, especially when food is involved.

I know how to make Lilah laugh until she cackles and snorts, and I know how to make Henry's secret dimple appear.

I know what makes them tick.

I know what true, fierce, and unconditional love feels like.





Monday, September 2, 2013

Ten Funniest Photos of the Summer

It is with great sadness that I admit this each year: summer is coming to a close. Going back through my photos from this summer  and reminiscing on what a glorious one it was, especially in Vancouver, I found a few that made me laugh out loud.  They've helped ease my end-of-summer blues and I hope they'll do the same for you!

 

1. The little photobomber in back is actually licking the water coming out of the pole at the splash park.
But I bet Henry's head tastes better!

2. Whaaa?

3. Seagulls. That's some scary s#!t.


4. Who's the birthday boy? This guy!
 

5. Because baby booty is always funny. And ridiculously cute.

6. She really thought she was being discreet scarfing down strawberries while picking.

7. Everyone else at this party gets cupcakes, and I'm stuck gnawing on this?!?

8. My niece, Maggie, made a glorious mess of her s'mores.

9. Funny. Because, baby booty. (See #5 above)




 
10. This one has it all - dripping wet baby booty, downward dog, upside down peek-a-boo...

Happy almost fall.  And if all else fails, remember: baby booty!



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Boy Turns One



My sweet, special boy.

He gives open-mouthed, slobbery kisses.

He is constantly "singing."

He eats paper when he thinks I'm not looking.

He is a snuggler, despite being in near-constant motion.

He says a small number of key words, the most important, of course, being "Mama."

He blows kisses.


He giggles like a maniac when his sister does something silly.

He kisses the pages of his books.

He is very ticklish.

He slyly initiates games of chase, silly songs with hand actions, and peekaboo.

He loves food, and eats anything and everything, despite having only two teeth and the tiniest tip of a third just cutting through.



He is already extremely cheeky.

He can throw a ball like nobody's business, and he gets down on his belly to search for it under furniture.

He walks toward me, arms above his head, and then hurls himself the last foot or so, confident that I will always catch him. 

He is pure joy. 

And on August 14th, he turned one.  We celebrated at a cottage in Ontario, where we were visiting with family (more on that in an upcoming post).




That's a carrot cake with cream cheese icing and his name spelled out in raisins.  With mama love baked right in.
Big sister helped blow out the candles.
 
And was excited to see him take his first bite.
You could say he liked it.
And he wasn't the only one.
It was a bittersweet moment in time for me. It is incredibly fulfilling to watch my children grow, but to see my baby looking more like a toddler made me a little nostalgic for the teeny, tiny, snuggly newborn days.  (Minus the sleep deprivation, of course.) Ah, such is the plight of motherhood.

Am I right in assuming that I'm not alone in this?  Do children's birthday parties make you feel a little wistful too?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Great Big Baby-Led Weaning Post, Part 1

When Lilah was six months to a year old, you could often find me in the kitchen, boiling, pureeing, and freezing organic fruits and veggies to serve to her at mealtimes.  Sound familiar?

This time around, as Henry approached the six month mark, I knew I would have neither the time, nor the desire (and certainly not the energy!) to spend his precious naptimes boiling and pureeing away.  I wanted to make starting solids as painless as possible for all of us.  So I started looking into Baby-Led Weaning (BLW), also known as Baby-Led Feeding or Self-Feeding.  I knew a number of families who had tried this method for feeding solids, often with their second or third babies, and I was interested to know what it entailed. 

Now that I'm the one doing it and posting photos all over Instagram and Facebook, I've had several friends ask me about it, and I am more than happy to share my experiences.

There are some good resources on the internet, including the Baby-Led Weaning site, Baby Center Canada and Canadian Family. But there aren't a lot of specifics out there, mainly because the idea with BLW is that pretty much anything goes.  You kind of have to wing it, which can be a bit challenging for those of us who are admitted control freaks.  And I think that would be especially true for first-time parents. 

Even this time around, it felt like a bit of a leap of faith, given that Henry's diet had consisted exclusively of breast milk up until he turned six months.  I had been intimately acquainted with every drop of sustenance that had passed his lips, and now I was about to plop some food down on the tray of his high chair and let him go to work on it.

But, when it comes to babies, I have always tried to consider how things would have been done back in the bad old days, before high chairs and blenders and fortified baby cereals and the onslaught of parenting information with which we are bombarded every. single. day.

So I let him go for it.  But that's not to say that I didn't have a preliminary checklist to ensure safety and my own confidence in this practice.

 
First off, my research indicated that babies should be able to sit unassisted before starting self-feeding.  Henry was able to sit up by himself by five and a half months.  Check.  He was showing a definite interest in the foods on our plates and started to get a little peeved when everyone around him was eating without him.  Even when we sat him up in his high chair with toys to entertain him while the rest of us ate dinner. Check.  I still waited until he turned six months, though.  Just to be sure.

I also talked to our family doctor about my plans.  Her resident, who I initially told about my interest in BLW, brought up concerns about Henry's iron levels when I said I was planning to skip fortified cereals.  But then I talked it through with our doctor, mentioning my concerns about him becoming constipated, the way Lilah did on fortified cereals, given that he was already one of those legendary, exclusively-breast-fed-once-a-week poopers. The bottom line of our conversation was that fortified baby cereals are not actually a necessary step, and you can introduce meat and dark, leafy greens quite early on, if you are concerned about baby's iron levels.  (Which, I'll be honest, I really wasn't.)  Again, I go back to the days of our ancestors.  Somehow, billions of babies have survived and even thrived without iron-fortified baby cereals or iron supplements.  Gasp!



There are plenty of reasons to try BLW, but here are a few of the reasons I decided to do this with Henry:

-I'm lazy.
-It seemed like a natural progression from breastfeeding.
-There are some studies that show it encourages babies to grow into children who make healthy choices and are in touch with their satiety cues.
-I had a hunch it would make family mealtimes easier, less stressful, and more inclusive.
-Cavemen didn't have blenders or fortified baby cereals.
-Fine motor development.
-Did I mention I'm lazy?

It turns out I have a lot to say on the subject of BLW, so I've divided it up into segments to make it a little more digestible.  (Haha, get it?)

***Stay tuned for the next installment of this post.  I'll give the specifics on what foods we started with and how it all went.***

Please share your own experiences with feeding babies - I'd love to hear about them!

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