Baby, Children, Education, Montessori, Parenthood, Siblings

The Baby is Now in School

It may only be two days a week. Of those two days, it may be for less than four hours a time. Even still, I feel like my tiny one has grown up in some big, important way.

first-day-of-schoolRowan began going to Montessori a couple weeks ago, and it hasn’t taken him long to get over the initial shock of being in a room full of toddlers and no mamas.

Griffin also has grown in that time, acting as a model big brother throughout the entire process. He meets me in the toddler room and helps to put Rowan’s indoor shoes on, telling him it will all be ok. He even sings the little song we made up when Griffin was in Rowan’s situation:

Mama Comes Back,

Daddy Comes Home,

We Have Fun at Schoo-oo-ool!

(No one said the song was going to win any awards.)

Looking back on his first day, most of what I can remember is that I woke up with a migraine. After dropping him off, worrying that he just wasn’t going to be able to handle being away from me and feeling nauseous the entire car ride home, I got into the bed, pulled the covers over my face, and tried to sleep off the headache. The few hours he was in school was vital for me to survive the migraines which have been longer and stronger lately.

Since then, Rowan’s been eating more for snacks and lunches when he’s there, cuddling up with the teachers, and doing so much independent work that Mrs. Heather has a hard time snapping pictures to document it because he’s always on the move.

I would call that quick progress!

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Baby, Pregnancy

Little Brother on the Way!

19 Weeks GriffinSurprise! We were able to find out the gender of the baby a week early due to some scheduling difficulties – I’m so glad it worked out that way!

Griffin knew it was going to be a boy, and kept telling us despite the fact that we hadn’t officially even told him he should be expecting a sibling. He simply kept asking if there was a baby in my tummy, and when I asked what he thought, he would reply, “Yes. It’s a baby brother.”

Children are amazingly perceptive about certain things like that.

Symptom-wise, I had a feeling it could be a boy. This pregnancy has been so similar to the last, from food preferences to weight gain.

We surprised Griffin with a bunch of blue balloons to let him know he was right all along – I have to say he seemed much more interested in the balloons than the news, however!

By the way, the below picture doesn’t do the belly justice at all. I feel like I’m about twice the size as I was at this point in the first pregnancy. But thank goodness for flowy tops!

19 Weeks 2Pregnancy Stats:

How Far Along – 19 Weeks

Size of Baby – A Mango

Total Weight Gain – Down -2 pounds total as of the doctor’s visit today.

What I miss – A good night’s sleep. Between a cough Griffin’s been battling and just overall restlessness, I haven’t had uninterrupted sleep in a few nights.

Cravings – This week I’ve definitely been leaning toward more red meat, and crunchier things like plantain chips. I would also really like some cereal, speaking of crunch. I ordered this Paleo cereal a few days ago and can’t wait until it arrives!

Symptoms – A mild low back ache today, which could have been from lack of sleep and having to lay on that uncomfortable ultrasound recliner.

Maternity Clothes – Baby seems to be riding pretty high, so nothing has been needed so far.

Worst Part of Pregnancy this Week – Realizing that it’s going to be difficult keeping to our normal schedule with a newborn and a toddler in preschool.

Best Part of Pregnancy this Week – Being able to find out the gender a week earlier than we thought!

Baby, Parenthood

The Birthday Week

The first birthday. So important that I haven’t even had time to get on here and tell you all about it! Which means it will require multiple posts, of course.

DSC_1215The week leading up to Griffin’s birthday was very intentional on my part. I wanted each moment to be something special, perhaps because birthdays have always been such a big deal for me. Of course, this was also about me, wasn’t it? I became a mama during this week last year, and each day I would tell him about what I had been doing to prepare for him the previous year.

Did he understand a word of it? Perhaps. But what’s for certain is that he felt loved, because Jeremy and I made sure he did!

DSC_1163We celebrated his birthday twice – once with our immediate family on the actual day of his birth, and once with a big ole shindig involving lots of our friends and even a few kiddos. This meant two birthday cakes, of course! Griffin got to chow down on a chocolate cake and a hummingbird cake. He was quite a happy camper, and we have leftovers of both!

Sunday – a coffee shop outting, followed by a stroll down Franklin’s mainstreet (arguably the most adorable, quaintest street in America). It just happens to be about 10 minutes from our front door, and Griffin loved the people watching! That evening was a tad chilly, so we had to stop for an impromptu early birthday present…a pair of SmartWool socks! These things were so big he will have them for years to come.

Monday – Griffin spent time with both his Nana (Jeremy’s mom) and his Poppie (my dad) as I ran errands preparing for his party.

Tuesday – His last music class of the season. It’s amazing to watch him every week – he gets a little more adventurous and a little more social each time. There was no sadness at it being the last one though, since we signed up for their “Holiday Hoedown”, a twice-weekly class during the month of December!

DSC_1239Wednesday – Griffin is officially ONE! I sang Happy Birthday all day long. Literally. Different versions, different tunes. My mom and I took him to the best children’s shop in Nashville, and let him crawl around and play with the store mascot (a friendly golden retriever) while we shopped for last minute birthday gifts. Then we let him be his social self at a coffee shop across the street as we had fed him lunch grabbed lattes.  After his second nap, Jeremy and I surprised him with tons of balloons that we threw into his crib. He had so much fun playing with them! Everyone arrived and Finn had broccoli, followed by his own tiny cake. I honestly think he preferred the broccoli at first! He is definitely not one of those children that dig into the cake. He actually looked upset that we even had the nerve to serve him something to insurmountable. I finally had to break the cake into smaller portions, which he quickly shoveled into his mouth. I’ll be writing a full post on each birthday celebration this week to give more details!

DSC_1276Thursday – “How old are you, Griffin?” That was the question I asked, and he answered, all day long. He is such a quick learner, and loved this new game. We played with his birthday gifts, and he had some Nonnie (my mom) and Nana time again as I continued to plan for the big party on Saturday.

Friday – Griffin had so much fun as the house morphed into party central. All the parents were over helping decorate for our Woodland ONEderland, and he got to help. He especially loved all the little woodland creatures I had found to scatter throughout the house. Then he spent the whole evening with his Nana and Papa (Jeremy’s dad) as Jeremy and I did last minute shopping, and finally had a much needed Margarita when it was all done.

DSC_1314Saturday – Party day! We had a photographer friend come and document the entire event. I can’t wait to get the pictures and share with everyone! Griffin had two very long, well deserved naps. He loved being surrounded by friends and family, and forming a band with some older children that had come to celebrate! The grown-ups had a blast as well, and took advantage of the woodland theme by mixing up some moonshine and spiked cider. It was a very festive event, and we still have some of the decor up!

Be on the lookout for tons more pictures, and an in-depth recap. Have I mentioned I love birthdays? Now that I have a child, that love has grown ten-fold!

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Baby, Parenthood

This Time Last Year

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I was sitting up in the hospital bed, listening to the sound of the little stranger’s heartbeat inside me. A stranger to be sure, for although we were intimately acquainted after nine months together, we had never looked into one another’s eyes.

Tomorrow my son turns one year old. The boy who made me a mother.

The cake is iced and ready. The candle is waiting to be lit. He sleeps upstairs in his bed not knowing the day ahead will bring surprises and adventure. I sit below him and try to imagine what a year’s worth of life is dreaming up above my head.

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Baby, Books, Eating, Health, Organics, Parenthood

They Gave My Son…Cheerios

CheeriosGoing to church has been a challenge for us since Griffin was born. He is a child who loves his schedule, and that schedule includes a nap from 10am-11am. Since church starts at 11, that leaves me driving separately and lugging baby to his Sunday school class almost an hour after the other children have arrived. Which means we haven’t gone that often.

When we do go, it seems there’s always some type of challenge, but the main problem I’ve been having is in terms of food. I know I’m in the teeny, tiny minority when it comes to feeding my baby. He doesn’t get sugar, grains, or anything inorganic. And although I used to allow the nursery volunteers to feed Griffin food I brought from home, I quickly stopped that after hearing one discussing another baby in the class.

“He seemed hungry after I fed him everything his mother brought, so I gave him some cheerios.”

After my moment of panic, I relaxed. I would just tell them not to feed him anything, and I could do it myself after church. Problem solved. I also wrote it down on the sign-in sheet and underlined it for good measure.

But even after all that, when Jeremy went to the nursery after church to pick Griffin up today, he asked the volunteer how he handled everything.

“Oh, he was fussy at the beginning, but I just gave him a few cheerios and he seemed better.”

This is the point in which my husband freaks out and eventually goes in search of the Children’s Ministry director. Luckily, the volunteer (frantically) assured him that she only offered a few Cheerios, and Griffin would only take the first one. After that, he wasn’t interested. That’s right, he knew it wasn’t real food and wanted no part of it! I was a proud momma.

Unfortunately, even though the director assured Jeremy that this wouldn’t happen again, I’m sure everyone involved was thinking that we were simply Nazi parents. They’re just Cheerios, after all. Practically a right of childhood.

But that’s where I want to sit them down and share my viewpoint. It’s not JUST a Cheerio. It’s a genetically modified, ultra-processed grain. My son has never had anything remotely like that in his life. Not only would he not know what to do with something that texture and could potentially choke on it, but he might have an allergic reaction. It’s my job as his mother to introduce new foods to him.

Why is it that parents follow certain “rules” to the letter? Whattoexpect.com gives a long list of foods to never give babies under 12 months. Can you imagine if some stranger offered your kid honey or peanuts? Wouldn’t you have a minor heart attack and be looking for signs of an allergic reaction the rest of the day?

This is how I feel about grains. And for good reason, although as I’ve already stated, I’m in the minority where this is concerned.

Babies are functionally grain intolerant – their small bodies aren’t ready to digest grains. This is because until about three years of age, they don’t have a complete set of carbohydrate enzymes that can break them down. Especially where GMO, processed foods are concerned, grains at that age can lead to allergies, asthma ADHD, and even autism. Experts from the National Institute of Environmental Health also report that even very low toxic exposure in early life is a factor in a variety of behavioral problems and autoimmune conditions.

From Super Nutrition for Babies:

Cereals (like Cheerios) are

Chemical – Due to the processing they endure, cereals are sources of toxins, created via a high-heat process called extrusion, which denatures proteins, turning them into neurotoxins. Whole grains are even worse, as they contain more protein. Due to high heat during processing, cereals also contain more than 500 times the safe limit of a class 2A toxin: acrylamides. This toxin causes cancer and has a variety of other toxic effects in human and animal studies.

Sugar Loaded

Grains

    • Hard to Digest – At this age, your baby is barely making starch-digesting enzymes. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and most cereals, is particularly hard to digest. Undigested proteins increase your child’s risk of developing gluten intolerance and allergies. (Considering I am gluten intolerant, this increases Griffin’s odds even more).
    • Lead to Autoimmune Disease – Early gluten introduction has been shown to play a role in the development of Celiac disease, as well as other autoimmune disorders. As the incidence of Celiac disease (and other autoimmune disorders) is on a steep rise, some experts postulate that this increase might be directly related to early and excessive gluten-containing diets, including an increasing reliance on grain foods for babies.

Addictive – A special enzyme (called DPP-4) is needed to digest gluten. Since babies don’t yet have this gluten-busting enzyme, the gluten can get “stuck” in a partially digested form. Called gluteomorphin, this partially digested protein acts similar to other opiates – opium, morphine, and heroin – clouding and fogging the brain, hindering development and perception, and altering behavior. Since gluteomorphins are just as addicting as other opiate drugs, your baby can get physically hooked on cereal and wheat.

Processed

So, with all that said, do I think all these issues are going to happen to Griffin because of ONE Cheerio? No, of course not. He didn’t have a reaction to the tiny amount he had (and you can bet I was looking closely).

But I don’t know that I can trust that he won’t be given more in the future, either. And that’s a shame. In our culture, babies are given food for everything – celebrations, boredom, and in Griffin’s case, when they are upset. Kids usually get 2-3 snacks a day, not to mention constant grazing. But I don’t carry around snacks for him, and I don’t want strangers feeding him, either. It really makes me sad that as a parent, my requests aren’t listened to. Having childcare at church is a huge blessing, but if I don’t feel safe (or feel that my child is safe in any way), I have difficulty bringing him again and again.

What would you do in my situation? I’m really torn right now. Any comments at all are welcome!!

Baby, Health, Parenthood

A Slight Rant Regarding My Son’s Pediatrician

Let me preface all this by saying I made a mistake. With the best of intentions, I volunteered for the 16-20 month old class at our church two Sundays ago. Never did it cross my mind that by doing so, I would be exposing Griffin to an age group and germs he’s never come in contact with. And so I volunteered – and so he got what I brought home on my clothes.

BooksMainly it’s just a slight runny nose and some ick in his diaper. But the ick went unchecked as he was sleeping through the night like the amazing child he is. Diaper rash came quickly at that point, and it got out of hand.

Poor Griffin cried every time he went to the bathroom. He cried when we changed him because it was painful. We called the nurse, then went to the doctor, doing our best as parents to keep everything in check.

The office was busy that day, so when the doctor rushed in amid other morning checkups, she simply glanced at the situation before a quick diagnosis and instructions. We did what we were told. I used the store bought cream (as well as the coconut oil I had been using based on its anti-fungal properties), and did everything in the order she told us, step-by-step and rule-by-rule.

How was I to know she hadn’t given us the right instructions? Who am I to question whether she had told us everything we need to do?

A quick call into the nurse today let me know that I may need to find another Pediatrician. Today’s instructions were much different! Apparently we should have been allowing the Lotrimin to soak into the skin, never put it on any open wounds, and only use it up to 4 times a day. We needed to be keeping him out of a diaper as much as possible (yeah, that will be easy), and then putting up to a quarter inch of zinc-based diaper cream on top of everything once the diaper goes on.

But that wasn’t what upset me the most. The worst part of the conversation – in which the nurse managed to make me feel about the size of the tiniest ant – was when I asked her about the coconut oil. “Oh, we don’t recommend stuff like that here,” she was quick to say. “What we tell you to do is FDA approved. We just don’t know about that other stuff. I mean, I like the smell of it in my suntan lotion, but I don’t know about putting it on a baby’s bottom.”

Right.

Because chemicals are completely fine, but if it grows from the ground, steer clear.

And what they’ve told me to do isn’t helping. I clearly see her logic.

Immediately after this conversation I put in a call to another Pediatric group – one that combines traditional and natural medicine. A practice I had been intrigued by, because they understand parents’ fears regarding vaccines and antibiotics. A practice that I’m hoping will mesh with what I firmly believe, and what I feel my mama instinct constantly whispering.

Griffin will be going there for his one year check up – and God will heal his little bum by telling me how to do it.

You’d never know from his pictures that he’s less than 100%. He looks guilty though, doesn’t he? Maybe because he pooped on the floor in my bedroom during some naked time! Oh well, I definitely think the amber necklace is a hit with the Hawaiian shirt, don’t you?

Tongue

Baby

11 Months and Some Family Photos

Griffin 11 month2Griffin turned 11 months old yesterday! I felt like it was such a special day for him, and kept singing Happy Birthday. Silly maybe, but I wanted him to know it was the last month he would be less than a year old. Every other birthday will be marked by years after this – commemorating the occasion was essential!

The previous week we had a wonderful photo session with the same photographer who took Griffin’s newborn photos. It’s so fun to compare how big he’s gotten in just over a handful of months! Even the photographer kept talking about how much he has grown – it will be fun to return to her year after year.

Jenny Cruger is such a rock star at what she does – she really captured the sweet joyfulness that we get to see in Griffin every day. And he loves her studio! It’s bright yet cozy, with tons of natural toys and products he had fun getting into.

Griffin 11 month3This month has been one of so many firsts. He is pulling up to stand, cruising around on furniture, and tentatively taking steps when he holds onto us. We started a baby music class, which has done leaps and bounds to socialize him with other kids around his age, and he absolutely adores the teacher – he shows off his musical ability for her and gets lots of praise!

Griffin 11 monthRight now it seems he’s developing his “opening and closing” skills. He will spend long periods of time turning the pages of books, taking lids off boxes and attempting to fit them back into place, and repeatedly playing with the kitchen cabinets. He gets so proud of himself when he completes this work, and wants to make sure those around him witness each little accomplishment.

This next month is full of fun festivities and lots of planning as we prepare for everyone to gather and celebrate. Halloween is just around the corner, and I cannot wait to reveal his costume to you all!