Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year to everybody here!  What a year, so full, so good.  The best year of my life without a doubt.  This little thing that graced me with her presence, Emma, is the best present that life could give me, and the highest honour that I could receive at the same time.  I vow to spend my next year and the one after that and so on perfecting the art of mothering her, working on striking a balance between work and time spent with her, working on myself in order to be a worthy role model, and continuing to enjoy every moment with her, just like I have so far.

Equally important, being now a mother and hence starting to direct a whole family in the emotional direction that I see fit, I realize what a huge responsibility this is.  A father provides safety and security, but I get the distinct feeling that in my family I provide the emotional temperature.  Hence a happy mother equals a happy daughter and a happy husband.  Just like I was writing earlier, if I feel celebratory around a holiday, the whole family celebrates.  If I don't, well nobody else notices Christmas either.  And many other such things.  I am the thermostat.

Ultimately, an even bigger goal is to start integrating myself even more in society.  I have been a recluse (other than the bit about my job being very social, where I could not escape being integrated into my own societal slot), but overall once I had Emma (and stopped looking at everybody else with children as if they were from another planet), I now feel like a rightful member of society as well.  I swear I didn't before.  However strange this might sound, but being denied children made me feel as if the world did not want me to be here, and definitely not to reproduce, and hence I felt like I did not want to belong either, or even less so to give back to anybody anything.  Now, I feel so full and blessed that I am spilling... without wanting to I talk to strangers, I am kinder to people, I am animated and full of life, and I consequently have no problem meeting new persons and making friends.  As such, with gradually more time and as soon as I recover from the financial disaster called being off work for almost a year, I want to give more to society, more of myself, more in the form of donations, more in the form of emotional availability aka giving more of a rat's a$$.

That being said, I sign off for 2011 thanking everybody who ever commented on my blog:  Thank you for making me feel heard.  And a thank you to everybody who read my blog:  you made this blog possible with your presence.  All my readers so far have been kind, well intentioned people who either care about me or struggle with the same issues, and I feel a great deal of love for you guys.  May the New Year be kind to all of us!

Monday, December 26, 2011

First Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!  This is the first Christmas spent with a baby in the family, and hence I was told that it should be special and treated as such.  Not that Emma cares about anything other than having a boob in her mouth at all times... but in the end I felt appropriately guilty and decided that we did need a Christmas tree after all, since with a new baby we should join the rest of the Normals and behave accordingly.

We don't always have a Christmas tree.  At my mom and dad's, we always had a real tree, because my dad loves the smell, and anything else felt fake to them.  Here, in my married home, we usually have a fake one that somebody donated to us years ago.  We keep it in the garage, in a large box, together with some decorations that I picked up on the first year I moved to SmallTown.  We are lazy about putting it up, but we are even more lazy about taking it down.  For example, in the year that we lost Adrian, we kept the tree up until March or April.  I don't think it even registered with me that we should take it down.  And I felt too tired to do it.  We always work long hours, but at that time with the depression and the loss, I was utterly exhausted and could not see a thing around me.

After that year, we did not have a tree again.  I was worried that I would have to put up with people asking me again why we still have the tree up in March.  However, on Dec 24, a friend who came to visit asked me where the tree was, and looked horrified that I did not have one up despite the fact that we had a small baby in the house, so I asked my husband to bring it out of the garage.  He set it up, and I decorated it.  The only problem is that the lights on the top half of the tree burned out, so it looks quite schizophrenic with lights only on the bottom.  But hey, we have a tree.

I guess I feel guilty that we are not more into the spirit of the holidays.  Since we have no money, we did not make any gifts to each other either.  I know that the woman of the house (aka me) is the one that dictates whether we celebrate a holiday or not, and the enthusiasm level associated with it, but for some reason this year I just felt like lying in bed with Emma and tickling her, singing carols to her, and doing nothing at all.  And we enjoyed it a lot.  Despite this, I think my next year's resolutions is to celebrate holidays with a bit more style, to decorate a bit more, to save money ahead of time for gifts, and to be more disciplined about living the spirit of each holiday as it comes.  In particular I am thinking of our birthdays, Valentine's day, Easter, our wedding day (which I'd better find out if it was on May 15 or 17 'cause I forgot) and Christmas.  This is so embarrassing to admit, but I am really lazy about holidays.  But that will change.  My new year's resolution.  Is anybody else out there lazy about holidays?

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Don't expect some brilliant writing here, I am just going to ramble.

I apologize for my extended absence off this blog, I was away in Vancouver taking a course in aesthetic medicine.  That means Botox and fillers (the stuff that you use to make lips bigger, and to fill in lines on the face).  This was a lot of fun!  I wanted to take the Botox course for years, but never had the time, and now with my mom babysitting Emma, I was able to do it.  I have used Botox injections for over ten years now for my TMJ pain and migraines, and I love the fact that my frown lines have also disappeared.  However, it is expensive when I go to someone else to get it done, and after taking the course I now can inject myself at cost (ho ho ho) and anybody else who crosses my path.  Like my mom.  Or my husband.  And all my friends.  And the cat.  The parrots are safe although tempting.

Emma is doing really well.  Growing, growing...she is now four and a half months old, and is wearing six month outfits which are beginning to get a little tight.  She can roll front to back, and sit with support.  She babbles a lot, and makes sounds that show a lot of enthusiasm with life (yehee, and yahooo).  She is a mountain of joy and fun for me.  I cannot believe how much happiness she has brought into my life.  Although I firmly believe that infertility can be resolved with peace and resignation, and filling one's life with other pursuits, I cannot see myself equally happy doing something else without her.  I just can't.

I think very often of Adrian, of what he has missed in life, of how he is my little guardian angel, and Emma's too, and MrH's as well.  I think of what he has done for us in his little life:  made Emma's birth possible (thorough him I found out about the incompetent cervix and had the cerclage), made me want to live more fully, with more courage, and a more fulfilling life, in order to somehow fill out his empty shoes.  I think about how his body was limp and I could see his long, fine, soft neck that I like to kiss on Emma, that I would have kissed on him.  Then I remember that I have Emma to hug and I do it for both of them.  I don't feel empty anymore, just sad at times, but never empty.

Emma scratched her cornea yesterday by poking her eye with her thumb in an overly enthusiastic movement.  She was grumpy and cranky the whole day.  The day before she touched a hot pot and burned a bit, but did not blister.  Because she is older, she gets upset more easily and cries angrily, and it takes a lot more effort to distract her.  Both times, seeing her in pain made me nauseous and weak at the knees.  I hate it that pain has to be part of her life, but thinking of the opposite, the children who cannot feel pain and end up with limb amputations because of injuries that they do not feel, that lead to infections as deep as the bone that also go unnoticed, I can only thank God for her ability to feel pain.  I still hate it and wish I could feel it instead of her.

As for the weight and fitness part:  I have lost a further 5 lb since my last blog post, I am now 169 lb (started at 190 lb and end goal 155 lb).  In another five lb I will be able to fit in all of my pre-pregnancy clothes, and then it will be time to evaluate whether I want to keep losing or whether it is enough.  The scales are different, remember how I broke my previous scale when I stood on it at the height of my third trimester (yep, the scale CRACKED!) and I know for a fact that this scale shows more weight, probably by 3-5 lb, so 155 lb on the old scale would be 160 lb on this one.  That is why 160 lb might be enough.  I don't want to be too skinny for my old clothes, although probably the too skinny look only happens when one is more than 10 lb below usual weight.  The clothes are the actual goal, since I have a nice wardrobe and would like to keep it.  I also happen to be poor since I have been on mat leave for so long, so no money for another wardrobe anytime soon.

I am starting work Jan 23.  I am not excited about it.  I feel like it is too soon, but at the same time I feel that I need to make some money pronto, and go back to my practice.  It has to be done.  Four hours per day will be ok.

Friday, December 2, 2011

fear of SIDS

Every day I am afraid that Emma might die.  Every single day.  I try to reason with myself, but there are not arguments that help:  yes, SIDS is relatively rare, but so was the incompetent cervix that killed Adrian.  Yes, two bad things are less likely to happen than just one bad thing, but I thought that after having infertility and having to do IVF I had enough of the bad thing.  Then the incompetent cervix happened, and  I lost Adrian, and I was convinced that I should be safe from harm for a long time.  And then I nearly died from the delayed post partum hemorrhage, another bloody rare complication that happened to us.  So why not more?  Is there an end?

I sleep next to her, with my face right next to her face, so that I can feel her breathing at all times.  If she takes a nap, I usually like to be next to her as well.  I don't let her be by herself almost at all, although there are times when I rely on the baby monitor to tell me when she wakes up and I go downstairs, make myself a cup of coffee, and write on my blog.  Like now.  Without her.  All the while hoping that I won't go upstairs when I am finished to find her blue and lifeless.

MrH is fairly certain that it won't happen, that she is a strong baby that has no health issues.  But I have read enough blogs to know that it happens to strong healthy babies.  I should stop reading SIDS blogs, but it is part of my blogging community, and I feel that in supporting each other we get better at handling grief, and hence I am not going to stop.  Besides, the fear is my issue and mine alone, it is not caused by reading other people's stories, quite the opposite:  I read other people's stories because of my fear.

Lately I have started wondering about the purpose of this fear.  Could it be that in finding her alive and well every single day, multiple times a day, I get a jolt of happiness and relief?  Could that be the contrast that my mind is seeking?  Am I geared towards living life on a rollercoaster, and hence a period of relative calmness and well-being is too boring, too predictable, and I need to create some drama with my mind? ... you get the picture...  The one thing that is for sure in my wild ride so far:  the things that have happened to me have, without exception, been UNEXPECTED.  I could not have predicted or thought out a single one of them.  So is it that thinking about SIDS keeps it away?  of course not.  But my subconscious is a bovine place that does not know these things, hence it will do what it does best: illogical things.

Anyway, I was wondering if you guys also worry about SIDS, mainly those of you who had your babies after a long struggle, those of you who lost babies before.  Even those of you who lost babies to SIDS, do you realize that the likelihood of it happening again is extremely low, and despite that do you worry anyway?  How do you cope with the worry?  Do you worry about the worry changing your relationship with your child, making you more protective, more paranoid?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I have TV again!

In case anyone is wondering if it is possible to live without TV, the answer is yes indeed, but you will need to substitute with other addictions, like the internet, or reading, or knitting.  In my case, I gave up TV out of necessity when I started going through my very expensive second university degree.  I had no money left for anything after paying for the beans and dry bread for dinner.  (Partially kidding about the bread, it was not dry, in fact I used to make it myself from scratch because it was cheaper than buying it.  That's the stage in my life in which I learned how to make most things from scratch, in order to save money.  Some habits die hard, and I still make my own bread and yogourt).  Six years later I graduated from the program, and started making money.  I decided that TV is a normal part of every household, hence I subscribed to Shaw cable and was paying 120 dollars a month for TV plus high speed internet.

I still didn't turn on the TV, despite the fact that eventually (after I paid my educational debt) I bought a flat screen TV on which I watched DVD movies on Saturday nights with MrH.  At one point, I remember having decided that I must make myself turn the damn thing on, just to get my money's worth out of the cable price.  After trying hard to have patience for TV but not succeeding (in addition, my couches in the living room are leather, hard and cold, not comfy for TV watching I'm afraid), I called Shaw and asked them to please remove the TV portion of the package and just leave the internet.  I was paying 60 dollars a month for that, and had freed up sixty bucks to spend on skin care and make up.

This week however, I got a call from Shaw that offered a special promotion:  39 $ a month for both internet and TV for one year.  So, they would give me a higher speed internet at a lower price if I agreed to have TV installed.  I told them that I don't watch TV and that at the end of the year I would ask them to remove it again.  I told them that I am fairly certain that the TV part is not necessary, but they insisted that the package is, um, a package, and therefore I am getting the TV like it or not if I want the faster, cheaper internet.

So I have TV!  In a surge of excitement, I turned it on and watched a show called What not to wear while exercising on the elliptical trainer.  Then I remembered why I never watched TV when I did have it:  every 5 minutes you have to suffer through interminable commercials.  I will try to record some shows so that I can fast forward through the commercial breaks, but I have no idea what is good, if you guys like something on TV, make some suggestions!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

blissfully happy

OK, so don't make dulce de leche if you are trying to lose weight.  It should be pretty obvious to anybody, but in my excitement to perfect the recipe, I made TWO batches, the first one was overcooked (but still good, just very gelatinous), the second one was almost perfect, I am quite certain that a third batch would be impossibly good, but fortunately I ran out of milk, and it is snowing outside so I am not going to buy any right now.  I have decided instead to read about the Maillard reaction (the reaction that causes the milk to caramelize and become so delicious).  Because I am that busy.

Emma has her three month appointment today.  She is actually 3.5 months old, but I could not get in sooner.  Her GP (my GP) was worried about her growth initially so he insisted that he must see her in between the 2 and the 4 month appointment as well.  She has probably jumped from 50th to 90th percentile in weight, and she must be at least 75th percentile in height and head circumference.  This is just from my estimations, but we'll see how accurate I am today.  Too lazy to do proper measurements at home.

I have lost one follower on the blog, and I am actually becoming aware just how boring my life/blog has become.  I am one of those blissfully happy people who worry about getting dulce de leche right, instead of whether I have enough money for yet one more IVF, or whether I will ever have a baby, or yet deeper  existential questions about the meaning of an infertile woman's life.  Etc.  No doubt all of those questions have made me grow, and made me a much more interesting person, but I love being blissfully senselessly happy and droning on through diaper changes, drool and spit up, and daily walks with a gurgling smiling Emma in my arms.

Addendum:  Emma is 90th percentile in length, and 75th in weight and head circumference.  She will probably be tall like me and MrH.  I was happy to hear that, although as MrH pointed out correctly, taller girls have a harder time finding a mate.  Yes, I agree, but we can reach the top shelf by ourselves, and gracefully carry 20 lb extra, and when we do find a mate, he is usually tall and well built.

Addendum no 2:  I weigh 173 lb.  Not much progress, must step on the accelerator and lose some more. I can almost fit into all of my clothes, I can zip them up but not breathe, which is a bit of a problem, so probably another five to ten pounds later I will be able to wear them AND breathe.  Bonus!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am in love with this kitchen gadget called the thermomix.  It is made in Germany I think, and the idea is that it's a mixer/blender/food processor that also heats up the bowl in which it is blending, hence it can also cook things.  The moment I heard about it I felt a huge gap in my kitchen arsenal, and hence went to work to hunt one.  First I contacted thermomix Canada, who informed me that it would cost me 1600 dollars or so to get the new model.  There is an older model, made up to 2004, and I tracked one down on Ebay for 500 $.  The problem was that it was from France, and hence the voltage was different (220V) and the plug as well, so MrH had to spend the weekend rewiring and such (adventures involving the crawl space of the house always impress a lady) and now I have a working Thermomix.  I am in love with this machine.  I have had it for less than one day and I have already made:  split pea and deer soup (deer meat was the only thing I had left in my freezer), custard cream (delicious), chocolate from scratch (with cacao butter and cocoa nibs), almond and rice milk, and now I am making dulce de leche.  Yum.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I finally got the pictures from my pregnancy and 1 week after delivery with Emma.  I would like to enlarge one of them, if you guys can make a suggestion as to which one (Emma's I mean, not mine).

funeral home

Winter is really here to stay.  It is below -20C (-4F) all the time now.  Yesterday it was -23C and I took Emma out for a little walk in the baby Bjorn.  I wore two coats, one that has a double head opening for baby carriers (it is called a baby papoose, if anybody wants one in large I will be selling mine very soon for half price, since I bought it too small and when Emma grows a bit I will need the xl size).  On top I wore a fur coat that is as old as myself, it used to belong to my mom when she was young.  We looked like two eskimos.  Whether she enjoyed it, I cannot tell, because she was very quiet the whole time (probably instinctively knowing that if she opened her mouth, her saliva would freeze, haha).  Later on last night my mom called wanting to make sure that I am not crazy enough to take my baby outside in this temperature (she saw the temperature on TV).  I said of course not, absolutely not (insert devious smile).  This is the first year that mom actually cares about what temperatures I live in.  So far she could not care less, even if I told her on the phone - she would not register the reality - but now that it comes to Emma, it is suddenly important.  Well, if mom had listened in the previous four years that I have been here, she would know that to avoid -20C is to stay indoors all winter, and that cannot be healthy either.  A child needs to get outside daily I think.  She needs to see the sky and breathe some fresh (frozen) air.  And she needs to adapt to the surroundings.  I have adapted better and better with each passing year, to the point that now, all I wear when shovelling snow is my yoga pants, a T-shirt (sleeveless) and a light down jacket.  Plus hat and mittens, those are mandatory.  Especially the mittens, always thick, or else my fingers could easily get frostbitten.

This is the second winter since I lost Adrian, and every time I walk or drive past the funeral home where we cremated him, (which is really all the time since the home is right next to my house), I remember that morning in January when his body evaporated into the sky.  I was also walking past the funeral home then, knowing that he would be cremated that morning, and I saw the smoke and vapour go up into the blue, clear sky, and felt a lot of longing but also a lot of peace, knowing that he was with God and with me, surrounding me at the same time.  I miss Adrian just as much, but I don't feel the emptiness anymore.  I wonder if he would also be as soft as Emma, if he would also lay his head on my shoulder and collapse into my neck, if his baby chub would be as delicious to kiss as Emma's...and I miss him every time, but Emma fills me up with so much love and is such a pleasure to be with, that I am profoundly happy and fulfilled.  It is not the absence of longing for Adrian, it is the happiness of being with Emma that makes my life so much better.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The baptism went very well, although I think that being surrounded by so many people in my immediate family (plus the godparents, and a whole lot of friends) has been very exciting and stimulating for Emma and she has a hard time falling asleep at night now.  She is very talkative, and has great control over her hands, which reside deep in her mouth most of the time.

The moment that we arrived back home from Vancouver, winter came.  First thing off the plane, Emma decided that -20C is too cold (that is -4F) and she started crying.  She has continued to cry every time she sticks her little nose outside, even if she is warmly dressed and in a bunting bag.  This morning we woke up to at least one foot of snow on our deck and a completely snowed in driveway.  MrH walked to work, I tried to shovel with Emma in the baby Bjorn, which soon proved not to be her favourite activity, so I stopped the madness and waited until it was nap time to shovel.  I shovelled for two hours straight.  Once I was done, I realized that despite the fact that I had a clear driveway, I still could not get the car out because the garage door was not working and got stuck in a closed position.  (Among other things, because it was cold while I was shovelling and I had to have the patio door a little open to hear the baby monitor, the ice that formed made it impossible to close the door back.  I had to use a knife as icepick to chip away at the ice on the door frame.)  Anyway, deciding that winter is not going to keep us indoors, and really wanting some milk for my tea, I put Emma to sleep in the bunting bag, and covered the stroller with a transparent plastic cover for the wind, and off we went to the store to buy milk.  HUH.  The driveway was not shovelled-nor was the neighbouring driveways-nor was the street-nor was the store's parking lot, so I was pulling the stroller through deep snow deposits for half the time, and pushing it for dear life the other half.  She didn't even wake up until we got home, and she was warm the whole time (I checked her hands and head and they were warm, plus she lets me know if she is not warm by screaming her head off).  All in all, I have used up more than 1000 calories today just for daily activities, and that was without even trying.  (I got the milk by the way).

Ugh.  I wish we had enough money for a snowblower.  I don't want to do this again anytime soon.  I am sore all over, my back hurts, and Emma is bright awake and won't let me sleep, despite the fact that it is well past midnight.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chanel lipstick disappointment

I bought a Chanel lipstick at The Bay (a large department store in Vancouver), one of the Rouge Allure collection.  The lipstick goes in and out with a spring loaded mechanism, and something happened to the spring near the beginning of my usage of this very expensive lipstick, because it no longer pops out.  Hence it is unusable.

Today, celebrating my newfound freedom (I bought a second hand stroller and car seat-both Graco...but I finally have mobility and a sleeping infant transitioning flawlessly from the car ride to the shopping trip), I went to The Bay to show them.  They asked for a receipt, which of course I do not have, since no person in their right mind keeps lipstick receipts.  Even the store does not keep a record, why should I.  I was told that they cannot help me.  I asked for a Chanel customer service number, they don't have one.  I asked for a manager, and was told that he is in a meeting.  I was asked to wait.  I asked for how long.  They said they had no idea.  I gave them my cell number to be called when the manager is out, and never got called.  It is now the end of the day, and I have two words of advice:  do NOT buy the Chanel Allure lipstick with the spring laded mechanism, and definitely don't expect any customer service from The Bay.

Other than this bit of frustration, life is great with a stroller.  Emma thinks so too.  She grabbed my hand with both her hands today while I was feeding her, and my heart melted.  Ooooohhhh.  It was worth it :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

on vacation

I am on vacation in Vancouver, and have not had a chance to post since my hands are forever busy with holding Emma.  At home, I have all sorts of devices to entertain her, including the absolutely necessary device for regular blogging:  a baby hammock.  I put her in the hammock, and move it up and down with my left leg, while balancing the laptop on my right leg.  This allows me to blog and work on my left hip flexors at the same time.  (I tried to change legs, but I can't balance properly the other way around).  Here, at my parents' place, I don't have a single place to put her down safely, so I have improvised one out of a plastic bathtub with blankets on the bottom, and now we also rented a car seat that I can rock her in - Graco again :(  but at least this one has a button to fasten the straps.  Next time I am bringing my own stroller and car seat, I realize that I might be charged an arm and a leg to bring them, but I need them for my freedom of my hair...making coffee...eating with two hands.

Emma is an absolute pleasure though, she has good control over her hands, which she puts in her mouth at every given moment, not realizing that if you shove them in too deeply they make you gag.  She still hits me and herself once in a while with her flailing hands when she is too excited, but this does not happen as often as before.  Her hands are warm, and she hugs with them nowadays, which is the best feeling in the world!  Her diaper rash is gone, and I have found a good diaper cream that is ok to use with cloth diapers (when using cloth diapers, they recommend that no zinc oxide be used since it creates a waterproof barrier on the cloth, defeating the purpose of the diaper).  She has clear skin and bright eyes, and generally is a beautiful, happy little girl.  And she talks up a storm.  I have figured out the meaning of "nga" which is "food", and "na"  which is "I told you so".

As for myself, I am also doing well.  I had a couple of fights with my grandmother when I first got here (my grandma is staying with my mom until the end of November, visiting from Romania).  Grandma has fixed ideas about what is food and what is not food.  Apparently, my breakfast consisting of cooked rye kernels or steel cut oats, banana and walnuts, or my lunch made up of almond milk+banana+protein powder+spinach+berries smoothie do not constitute food, and I will become anemic, or die, plus I don't need to lose weight, why am I losing so much weight, women are more beautiful fat, etc, etc...  I have endured this for two days, gently telling her that people eat differently, and that I am still very far away from fitting into my normal clothes, but she got more and more vocal, and even mean, telling me that that's why I am not making milk for Emma, as in I am irresponsible towards my daughter.  In the end I snapped at her and told her that I am eating whatever I want, she can eat whatever she wants, and that if I hear one more word about my food I am leaving back to my house.  That shut her up and life is good.

I have lost two more pounds since I am here.  I don't know how much I actually weigh, since mom has two scales, one shows 180 lb, the other one 170 lb.  The one at my house is right in the middle, at 175 lb, or it was before I left.  I guess scales really differ a lot.  As long as I am not gaining, that is all that matters.  I was very worried about being out of my own element and not in control of what is on the table, but I told my mom before I left home that I am only coming under two conditions: one, that no pizza be made in the house while I am there, since I cannot help myself it it smells so good in the whole house.  Two, that my grandmother leave me alone (because I knew that her favourite obsession is with what I eat).  I solved that problem myself.  In fact, this morning my grandma had the same breakfast as me, at her request:  rye kernels with milk and banana.  I guess the curiosity killed the cat.

Our priest came to the house to read a prayer for Emma and myself, so that I can enter the church at the time of the baptism.  I did not know that I was impure and unclean after giving birth, especially since I have showered daily since, but hey, if that is the tradition, that is the tradition.  Orthodox religion is very old fashioned, and tradition is deeply rooted in the ceremonial parts, so if you want the sandwich you have to like the bread as well.  The good part is that he left us with some holy water that I can use to wash her face with in the morning, and also to drink for myself, and I like to believe that it will increase my milk supply.  I do believe in holy water since I was three, and that is not about to change anytime soon.

Yesterday I went to Lululemon (my latest obsession) and got my pants hemmed (I buy online, extra long, and hem them myself until I can get to the actual store and get them professionally hemmed).  I left Emma with MrH at the bookstore, and had half an hour of freedom.  I bought two pairs of tight pants (the kind that are tight all the way to the bottom of the leg, hence you must be skinny to wear them, which I am not but I will be) and a pair of shorts.  I must have tried on everything in the store, because one of the shop attendants looked at me and said "you're still here? you have a problem...". I thought, yeah, my problem is that I live so far away from any real shops and I can only buy stuff online, hence when I get to a place where I can touch the stuff and feel it, it is like I am living in a three dimensional world again (instead of my usual two-dimensional one).

Well, Emma is awake from her nap, so I got to go.  I promise to blog daily for the rest of the week, in order to atone for my absence.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

my mother, myself, my daughter

I am reading "Found: A Memoir" by Jennifer Lauck, and I am finding the book very emotionally charged. I am loving the way she writes, very deep and heartfelt, and the story makes me see Emma in a whole new light.  Babies seem to come equipped with a lot of pre-determined similarities with the biological family, and a very strong need for their biological mother, not just any caregiver, although the book does make me wonder whether a different adoptive mother would not have made a bit of a difference in Jennifer's life.  I have not finished the book yet, although I will finish it in the next hour or so, and so far I can warmly recommend it.  It will strike a cord with any new mother, and it will definitely strike a cord with any adoptive parent or adopted child.

Emma is a very happy baby.  She smiles almost all the time (except for when I do something she does not want at that moment, like putting clothes on her after a bath, or strapping her into the car seat, when she screams bloody murder and makes me into a nervous wreck).  Her smiles make me forget for the moment about any problems that I might be having and absorb me completely back into the mother role.  She has a way of drawing me into her world, into the bond that we share (which is my world in any case 99.9% of the time) just with her bright eyes and her wide, toothless smile.  She melts into my neck when I walk around with her.  She puts her hand on my boob when breastfeeding, or purposefully grabs my finger, as if she is so intensely wanting to have me all to herself for that moment.  Not just the boob, but my whole being.  She even looks into my eyes and has the same intense look that I have.  I see so much of myself in her nowadays, while as when she was born she was mostly MrH.  (Not to worry, she still has his hair...which means she is still somewhat bald :).

In all honesty, she is much more than I thought she would be.  She is more of a person than I imagined she would be.  She has likes and dislikes, and a voice to show them.  She makes me even more happy than I thought possible.  I knew that being her mother would be a full time responsibility that I would have to assume, as everyone EVERYONE constantly reminded me.  In particular my own mother, as if I was a burden at this age and she had to look after me.  So I was prepared for the burden, the inconvenient awakenings, the constant responsibility that would stun my own life into narrow boundaries.  What I did not expect was that I would WANT that responsibility, that I would love being constrained, that I would love waking up at night to see her face and live another peaceful moment with her on my boob, that I would gladly renounce all of my other worldly pursuits to dedicate myself to her WILLINGLY.  This burden of mine, she is all light and sunshine.

I might be the same as my mother, but life has taught me differently, and hence my perception of the world is different.  Yes, our voice on the phone is identical, and we wear the same size clothes, and do the same athletic activities, and have the same hair colouring and both like makeup and skincare and cooking, but my daughter is a privilege to me, and I was a responsibility to her.  Not that I was not desired, quite the opposite.  But I came quickly, within the first two months of trying, and there was never in her mind the possibility that I might never be.  From that point of view we are worlds apart.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

on men, part two

I am adding another short post to this topic that I have started a while ago.  I was planning on writing more, but life got in the way.  I was inspired by a recent conversation that I have had with a friend on the subject of service.  Service to others is an awesome, powerful way to enhance our lives.  We learn to share of ourselves, which makes us more open, more vulnerable but also more connected with the world around us. The time when I was the happiest are also the times when I connected the most with others.  In fact, if I don't connect with someone at least once a day through a conversation, a shared moment, a cup of tea, then I am prone to anxiety and sadness.  It is my social life that gives meaning and purpose to my existence.

Service to others can be difficult when going though infertility.  I remember being very unhappy, very closed off from the world at the worst times, and the last thing on my mind was giving, when I felt so dry and empty that a whole river of love could not fill me.  Sometimes giving was difficult.  Sometimes even impossible, or so it felt.  But the one person that I could always give to was my husband.  I wanted to be open and vulnerable to him, because it felt right to me, and service to him included many things, but in particular it included forgiveness.  I forgave and forgot my anger a lot of times.  I was often under the strong impression that I was right, in a discussion, or in an argument.  He was at times unfair, impatient, inconsiderate (but not very often really, just when he got tired and worn out).  My service to him consisted of forgiving and being the first one to make up, to say I'm sorry.  I still am the first one to make up most of the time.  I have noticed however that I am reaping the benefits of this behavior as well:  our fights don't last long, our sullen silence moments are very brief, and sometimes, more and more often, he even says that he is sorry (whoa! score!).

Men like a woman who serves them (yes, women also like a man who serves them, but I am willing to bet that men don't read my blog so I will leave that part out for now).  And women like having a man worthy of serving.  Serving is not about fairness, quite the opposite.  It is an action born out of the willingness to forget about what is fair for a moment, and focus on giving, and on the end point.  It is hard, and it feels unnatural the first hundred times, but it leads to a better relationship, and to more openness and vulnerability in the relationship.  And it invariably leads to the man wanting to serve back (chuckle...that is just a side effect...don't serve to be served back or you will often be disappointed).

Does this make sense to anybody?  I realize that in the age of equality of sexes, it might sound dated and wrong, but if your relationship is feeling strained and cold, and you are willing to try something different than usual, why not try this?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

bison having sex while smelling rose otto

First off, I will share something that I found insanely hilarious:  once in a while I check for "traffic sources" that lead people to my blog, in other words I look to see what search words someone typed into a search engine to lead onto my pages.  Occasionally I will publish the funniest ones.  Today's keyword/phrase is "bison having sex".  Yep, someone typed that into google and my blog came up as a possible answer.  If anybody has an explanation for this, please go ahead and post it in the comments.

Jumping ahead to the post:  Rose otto is the essential oil of rose (rosa damascena, or Bulgarian rose).  It is insanely expensive.  Which is why I just had to try it.  I bought a minuscule amount online from my usual essential oil supplier, and put one drop in the diffuser tonight.  I was shocked how far one drop can go:  it smelled throughout the entire bedroom and upstairs, not strongly, but distinctly.  Will it make the bison have sex?  who knows...

Because of Emma I am limited in the kind of oils I can use, as well as the quantities, but if chosen carefully even with a small baby I can still surround myself with heavenly smells.  At least good thing MrH likes the smells in the house, which is nice.  I don't know how I would deal with a husband who does not like smells, like my father, who has a very sensitive nose and will protest if I wear hand cream at the table.  (I think him and I share the same genes as far as the nausea factor goes, except for me the sensitivity only kicks in when I am pregnant, and for him it is all the time :).

On the good news front:  the appliance repairman showed up today to fix my dishwasher.  This is record time.  Normally people wait for one month at least.  I know that because my friend is waiting to have her oven fixed for over two weeks, and she is booked with the same (only!) company for the end of November.  I must have been quite convincing on the phone yesterday.  In any case, the guy found a date pit in the pump that empties the dishwasher.  That would explain it.  It was a 100 dollar date pit, or at least that is how much it cost for me to find out about its existence.  If only I had known, I would have removed it myself.  Embarrassing to say the least... But because I know him from an exercise class that I used to attend regularly, he taught me how to open the pump for future reference, so it was an expensive lesson but not all is lost.

On the weight front, since tomorrow is weigh in day, I am barely going to scrape by with 177 lb (one lb down for the week).  I have had a couple of days of anxiety and tiredness, and with the sprained ankle I took a break since Saturday from all forms of exercise, so I have not been as focused.  I am however starting to focus again, and the ankle is improving, so on we go.  I need to lose at least 2 lb per week to reach my goal by January, when I am going back to work.  If I don't reach my goal weight of 155 lb, I am not likely to fit into any clothes for work, and that would be a problem, a big problem, since I cannot show up at work in Lululemon yoga stretch pants, however comfy they might be.

I need some advice: what to wear at Emma's baptism.  I have a top that fits but only goes with pants, so I will need to buy some pants, or wear my old maternity pants which look nice but not extraordinary.  I also have a skirt that I am five pounds from fitting into, but no top to match it that is festive enough.  The last option is to spend some money on a new outfit, or on a new pair of pants, but I find that a pricey option because I don't think I will be ever using the outfit again.  If you have attended a baptism or have baptised your child, what did you wear, or what did the mother wear:  skirt, pants, or dress?  or a suit (gulp! expensive option).

PS. I googled "bison having sex" and my blog did not come up in the first couple of pages.  It must have been a different search engine.  For a fun assignment, since you all have ample spare time (why else are you reading my blabbering?) try to type "bison having sex" into various search engines and see which one leads you to my blog :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

frustration about my dishwasher

At least my post titles give you a fair warning about how boring my blog has become...but boring is good...(for me, not so much for entertainment readers though).  Anyway, if you want to hear me ranting about service in Northern British Columbia, feel free to keep reading.

My dishwasher has died.  He/she was very young, only 1.5 years old, just barely out of warranty.  I might have ridden my poor slave too hard, who knows, perhaps one load a day is more than Kenmore has designed their products to handle.  Perhaps other people do their dishes only once a week for all I know.  In any case, my poor dishwasher has one day keeled over and infarcted its pump (the thing that pumps the water out after the dishes are done).  I will not describe here just how much fun MrH had cleaning out that dirty water from the bottom of the dishwasher (which I have named Splashy in this tale, in order to protect his/her privacy.  The real name will not be revealed).

So, Splashy Kenmore is dry and alone in my kitchen for eight days.  The very next day after Splashy got sick, I called Sears and asked to have it fixed.  I was given the good news that the warranty had just expired, but I said breathlessly that I did not care, I just wanted my dear Splashy back.  So please send me over an appliance ambulance complete with resuscitation kit.  I was assured that I would be called within two days by the service doctor.

A week has passed, and nothing.  I loaded Emma on her stroller, did my hair and make up and went over to Sears to seduce the manager in order to save Splashy.  I gave him my best smile and asked what the F$#% is going on.  I was told to call the service place myself and ask them where I was on that list.  Which I did.  And found out that I wasn't ON that list at all.  I then called the service dispatcher in Ontario (at least it wasn't in India!) and they put me on hold for half an hour, after which they confirmed that indeed I was not on that list, because the service request had been rejected.  Rejected by whom?  I feel like Splashy is on the list for organ transplant or something.

Back on hold, forty five minutes later after I had my breakfast, my latte, my second latte, my third latte and my tachycardic spell from too much coffee, I was assured that I am now back on the list.  SAVE MY DISHWASHER I feel like yelling in the phone.  Not only that, but apparently there still is warranty for parts and electronics, and the pump is an electronic organ, so hopefully my wallet won't be gutted by the end of the week.  As we all know, I need the money to buy makeup.

Monday, October 24, 2011

musing about work

I am feeling worn out for some reason.  Perhaps I am coming down with a virus, but most likely I am overtraining, like I was suspecting initially.  I started thinking about what it will be like to go back to work, and how I will cope with knowing that Emma is with someone else, a stranger to her.  I think it is going to be hard, and the anticipation of that is saddening me a little.  Even though it is only going to happen in mid-January (and for the first month I am hoping to convince my mom to come and look after her), I have already started to worry, MrsH-style.  I am pretty sure that if I get a good sleep tonight I am going to wake up and feel better about the whole thing, but tonight I am mopey.  It helps that I love my job, and that I am a social person that likes to communicate daily.  I know that going back to work from that point of view will be good for me, since it forces me to be social and to be involved in things other than my own life/problems.  But...leaving Emma...even if only for four hours a day...bahhhahhhahh...

You know what I mean.

On the other hand, I cannot believe you gals in the US have to go back after three months.  That must be so hard.  How do you cope?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Milk Cow

If you have been following my story, you know that after the post partum hemorrhage that almost killed me I lost my milk supply.  Initially I had NOTHING (at about three weeks post partum).  Then, I managed to pump 1 oz from both breasts combined for the longest time.  We are now at 2.5 months of age, and I am starting to notice that Emma does not require as much SNS supplementation as she used to.  For the past week, I have only given her about 300 ml (10 oz) from the SNS, as opposed to the usual 20 oz that he would require.  Last night she did not need any supplementation.  This morning again.  I started thinking that she might have indigestion and maybe her appetite is down.  This afternoon, I went for a long walk with my friend and left Emma at home with MrH.  He had to give her 90 ml (3 oz) of supplement, then I came home and had full breasts, so I started pumping.  I pumped 3 oz and at the same time fed her I guess about 1 oz.  I made 4 oz of milk!!!!!!!!!!!! This is such a huge achievement for me, I cannot even begin to describe it.  It makes me happier than the weight loss even, and that should mean a lot for whoever knows how obsessed I am with my weight at the moment :)

Jumping around to another idea, I had to ask this question that popped into my head last night.  For those of you who have or have had babies, you might identify with this dilemma:  when your baby wakes you up at 5 am to feed, and your bladder is full and bursting, which do you do first:  pee, or feed the baby?  If I feed Emma, I am rather uncomfortable to put it mildly for the whole 20-40 minutes that it takes her to eat.  If I pee first, then Emma fully wakes up and starts screaming, waking up MrH who has to work in the morning.  So far, I have been able to either hold it until I feed her, or carry her to the washroom and feed while on the toilet, but she is getting rather long and heavy and I don't know how long she will be manageable to carry around, especially that the toilet is in a narrow spot in our bathroom.

That is it for deep thoughts.  Please let me know what you do/what you would do in this situation.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

beauty therapy

During ICLW I try to post every day, because it is an important way to meet new people in the blogging world.  However, I must say that I have nothing intelligent to write about lately.  I think I am keeping myself too busy to think.  I sprained my ankle running, and today re-injured it a bit during jazzercise, so I really will have to take it easier with the exercising.  That should give me more time to just be and feel and think and write.

First I will start with a resolution: no more baking while I am trying to lose weight.  I baked banana bread yesterday, and despite the fact that it only had two tbsp of sugar and two tbsp of oil for the whole loaf, I ate too much (three slices? with peanut butter and honey... instead of dinner, ouch) and woke up weighing 179 lb.  I know we should not weigh ourselves daily, but heck if I don't see every single mistake on that scale if I weigh myself daily.  I mean, I never gain 1 lb after eating my usual meals.  So, no more baking.  No more anything that will put me out of my routine, other than one meal: Emma's baptism.  It will be on November 12, and I plan on eating a little more freely then.  But not overeating.  I have to get it in my head that overeating is out of my life for good, and that if it shows up again uninvited, I have to assess why and do my best to avoid future situations where it is likely to happen.

I was doing my hair with hot rollers today, and I came up with another observation:  hot rollers take time.  Five minutes to apply, and two to remove, to be more precise.  They do create a nice wave and lots of volume that stays the whole day, they are more gentle on the hair than a curling or straightening iron, but they take more time.  So, the truth is that at least in my life, with limited time for self-grooming, I will have to chose one aspect of my beauty routine that I want to emphasize and spend time on, and be more minimal on the other aspects.  In the past I used to chose my make up as the part to emphasize, and do my hair pretty much in the same way daily, using a curling or straightening iron for variation.  (BTW, within the make up routine, one can spend more time and money on products for the face, or for the eyes, or for the lips, so in there too there is a way to break it up in order to spend time on the one feature that one wants emphasized.  Lately I have been focusing on creating a flawless complexion, which takes quite a bit of steps since my complexion is not flawless, given my lack of sleep, hehehe...).  Now, I want to create a voluminous hair, so I have to limit something else in order to steal the extra four minutes for the hair routine.  (I kid you not, my self care is THAT regimented.  I have OCD).  So, the extra time is coming from clothing (with only two pairs of pants that fit me, and both of them jeans, I don't really have to spend too much time choosing or ironing:) and it will probably also come from skin care.  I have simplified my skin care regime a lot: wash, remove makeup, add vitamin C 20% serum, add lactic acid/salicylic acid gel, and some basic eye cream.  When I want pampering, I also add some herbal recovery gel from Jurlique.  (If you think this is complex, you should have seen what I was doing before:  cream for face, cream for neck, cream for boobs, cream for butt, cream for waist, cream for hands, cream for feet.  That was before I had a child.  Now it's one cream for everything, and I make it :).

Anyway, I am blabbering.  I had better stop for today.  If you want more random wandering thoughts then stop by tomorrow.  I might blabber about cooking.  I wish, really, that I had some deeper thoughts, but I just don't.  I am very superficial at the moment, so on we go.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday check in

I am a little late for the Thursday weight check-in:  Emma has been fussy the whole day and I did not get to the computer at all.  The dieting is still going, (for those reading from ICLW, I am in the process of losing 35 lb after giving birth to my daughter Emma on August 10).  I weighed 178 lb this morning (start weight 187 lb) so officially breaching the 180's barrier, and nine pounds lost since the start of my diet.  My husband is full of praises for how I look, which helps me a lot to stay motivated.  I find that once I lose some of the weight, I am tempted to stop or to slack off (which in the world of dieting is bad).  I still have 23 lb to go, so I must not stop.

I became interested in aromatherapy again (I was always into perfumes and smells and the chemistry behind it, but during the pregnancy I became intolerant of most smells, so I had to stop using fragrances and essential oils).  I am building my collection of essential oils, and experimenting on my husband with methods to induce deep sleep (and sneaking in an aphrodisiac here and there, but he does not have to know, haha... maybe that is why the parrots are pecking each other).  I am getting an ultrasonic diffuser by mail sometime next week, which should make the process more efficient.  I also made a solid perfume this week, using 1 tbsp beeswax, 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted together, and when cooler I added bergamont and grapefruit essential oils (about 25 drops total).  It smells lovely, and I use it more as a hand and foot cream.

I will try to write a longer post this weekend about Emma's development.  She is smiling all the time, and "talking to us", this week she has also tried to help MrH open an envelope, reaching for it interested.  We dance every day to Alicia Keys in the mornings and generally have a fabulous time.  I am still the happiest mom on the planet :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

The October 15 candle for our babies.


As far as the weight loss goes, this weekend I had a minor setback, and did not lose any weight.  In fact, at one point I had gained 2 lb.  This probably was due to salt and water retention, which usually happens when I start eating more than usual.  I did not eat insane amounts, actually I only ate enough not to be hungry, but the truth is that in order to lose weight, one has to be hungry, so the extra food that consisted of 5 oz of salmon, 100 g of pasta and one cup of lentil soup (in addition to my usual calories) have stalled my progress and made me put weight back on.

I had to reassess the situation:  why was this happening?  I think the main reason has to do with the fact that I am exhausted.  Losing weight is hard enough, but I also exercise daily, running about 5-7 km, doing pushups, sit-ups, planks, etc, or hiking up and down the hills for one hour.  Once a week I go to an exercise class as well.  The other thing is that I have to get Emma to come with me for the almost daily hiking, and that consists of hurrying to feed her (she takes forever still to feed) and then fighting with her to put her  in the car seat, fighting with her to let me put a hat on, and struggling to convince her that the Ergo carrier is a fine place to be in for one whole hour, which my active little girl does not always believe. There are many days in which I get there late and stressed out, and often think that I should just stop making plans with other people, because I am never on time, even if I start to get ready one and a half hours prior.

So, after realizing that this is the case, I am going to allow myself days off from exercise, and even from meeting other people and going out for walks.  I am going to let myself spend whole days just doing nothing other than the basic housework and caring for Emma.  I also need to spend more time sleeping.  And, finally, I need to cut back on the exercise, although this might sound counter intuitive when we are talking about weight loss.  The truth is that exercise is only 20% of the effort, 80% of weight loss is the diet, and if exercising too much makes me eat out of tiredness or frustration of not having time to just vegetate and relax, then the exercise is counterproductive to the final goal.  (The final goal is to fit into this red Chanel skirt that I bought while I was pregnant, measuring 100 cm in the hips and 75 cm in the waist - as far away as the moon really).

As soon as I made this decision, I have begun to relax.  I still ran 6 km last night, but I enjoyed doing it because I chose to, not because I had to.  I also took a long bath with essential oils (I chose lavander, frankincense, geranium and rose of Maroc) and in fact took out my collection of essential oils and expanded it by adding three more (lemon, cedarwood, and a blend called "appetite suppressant " that has rosemary, fennel and peppermint I think).  Lastly, I started using my cellulite cream again, not so much because I think it works, but rather because it makes me feel pampered.

So I am back on the right track, I was hungry yesterday and I am sure that I lost one pound of water.  Will check in on Thursday.  BTW, if you are doing the weight loss with me then on Thursday post your weight (yes, you G!).  This will keep you on the right path and encourage you not to stray, at least not on Wednesday night...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15, Remembering- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Thinking of all of our little ones that we lost:  Adrian, Olivia, Lillian Grace, Julius, Wendy, Rowan, Levi, Ayla Joy, Juliet Grace, Bayli and Thomas, Caleb Anthony, Aidan, Valentina, Baby M, Baby C, and I deeply apologize for anybody that I might have left out accidentally.  I have lit a candle today for all of them, as usual, and I will post the picture in a little while.

I sometimes have the impression that I think of Adrian more than usual, and sometimes less than usual.  Watching Emma grow and become her own little person has me wondering how would Adrian have been doing going through the same steps.  The other day, a little boy asked me if Emma has a brother, and I told him that she did, but he died.  He looked all serious and asked me why, and I smiled and told him that he was born too small.  Because I was loving and light-hearted about it, which I truly am at this point in my life (given how blessed and happy I feel), he accepted it and moved on, with no fear about this information.  He was actually quite sweet.  I don't hide Adrian's loss from anybody.  All who ask get the truth from me, since I don't feel any reluctance to disclose Adrian's existence.  I have not had many people be inappropriate about it either.  I accepted it as part of life, I let people know about him with love and peace, and they probably feel safe and don't need to block out the sad story.

Adrian is resting in a small urn on my night table, and I say goodnight to him every night.  It is for him that I have had the courage to go on living, and eventually got Emma.  It is for both my children, but particularly for him, that I want to live my life to the fullest, just like I would have liked him to do.  It is the only thing a bereaved parent can do for their child, live as if his or her days have been passed onto us.  May we all make the most of our days, for us and for them.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

life is good

Just a quick update before I dash to the indoor running track:  I have lost a total of 7 lb since I started the diet, currently being at 180 lb.  That is 2 lb in the past week, which included Thanksgiving (I obviously have behaved :).

Emma is more and more entertaining.  We run daily, her in the stroller, me pushing her (one day we'll change places).  I love the Stokke stroller for its height, as Emma is feeling much more secure close to me than she would close to the ground.  She laughs often and enjoys the speed.  She cries if I slow down, so honestly she is my best training partner, pushing me continuously.  She also loves her baths, kicking her little legs when we bathe together, almost daily.  She screams my head off when I take her out, even though I try to keep her warm.  She is such a lovely little girl, and I feel immensely blessed to have her EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Yesterday I was running outdoors on a path on which I run every summer, and I have suddenly had a flashback to one of the numerous times that I ran to forget about infertility, either before an IVF or after an unsuccessful procedure.  Every step on that path has memories of infertility, dashed hopes, pain, impatience, doubt.  And now I ran it with Emma.  This was an immensely healing experience for me, and I have ended up thanking her out loud for choosing us to be her parents.  What a difference she has made to my life, how much happier and brighter I feel!  Thank you, thank you, thank you little girl for being brave and taking a chance on us.  We will do our best not to disappoint :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I must confess, I love the blogging world.  I love reading other people's blogs even more than writing my own, and I like it a lot when people comment, because it makes me feel like someone out there is actually reading my blabbering.  Oh, I know I can use the stats and see if people click on the pages, but when one actually writes a comment it means a lot to me.  It is like a conversation, and that is what makes us a community.  Which is why I am going to sign up again for the International Comment Leaving Week (ICLW), see the link on the right hand corner in brown for this month.  Who knows how I will find the time, between exercising and caring for my newborn daughter, but we shall try.

I found some interesting blogs lately, one of which was about how to have great legs.  I believe it is called the Great Legs blog or something like that.  I am sure if I search for it I am going to find a blog about how to have great abs, great breath, and definitely I know that there is one for shiny long hair, 'cause I used to read it.  Anything you want, you name it, someone else out there is obsessed with it even more than you and has become expert enough at the issue to write about it.  I LOVE THE INTERNET!

Speaking of great legs, I am going on with the diet, I weighed 181 lb this morning, which is fabulous!  I cannot believe what a long way I still have to go until I can fit into my large size clothes, not to mention the medium size.  It is a slow process, but I am concentrating on it, and it is going on.  This morning I have tried a jazzercise class, which reminded me of hi-low impact aerobics that I used to teach at some point when living in Vancouver.  I enjoyed the group, and the opportunity to show off my lululemon top (I am going through a lululemon stage, a couple of years behind the rest of Vancouver, but hey, I was piss poor at the stage when lululemon became the mandatory gym wear in Vancouver so I used to work out in my old beat up t-shirts and my dad's pants.  I think I looked quite sexy though, in a carpenter-girl sort of way.

I am nervous about Thanksgiving dinner.  Similarly to many people, I like to eat more than my diet allows when I go out, and we are going out to someone's house who is a good cook. If you have any tips on how to stick to the diet while at the same time not making the host feel uncomfortable (as I would feel if someone refused to eat my pumpkin pie) please share.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

So peaceful

8 weeks old. Her crying makes me soft.

Emma is 8 weeks old and I weigh 182 lb (down 2 lb since we started the diet last week).
Yesterday I was hungry and cranky, and I bet Emma is picking up on that a bit, because she just had a lot of cramps and was cranky herself.  We had a nice bath in the big tub, and she splashed around with her little legs, but as soon as I took her out of the water she started crying, and worked herself up into a hysterical mode.  I soothed her as best as I could, but she did not want the boob (that is a first for Emma!) and at one point I had to get dried up and dressed myself, as I had just gotten out of the tub with her.  After dressing her warmly I put her on the floor of my walk in closet, where I was getting dressed, and she started crying very angry, and thrashing around with her little legs and arms, and I felt so bad that I just had to get dried up and dressed, and could not pick her up.  She was just lying there, helpless, and my heart really melted out of compassion for this little body that cannot do a single thing for herself and is so incredibly dependent.  I cannot imagine the frustration!  Good thing she doesn't know any better...  

There was another magical moment last night, when she grabbed her daddy's finger, looked at it, then tentatively stuck out her little tongue and slowly brought her head to the finger (instead of the other way around :) and first tasted it, then started chewing on his knuckle.  It was so sweet to see her explore.  I am used to her playing with my boob, chewing on it, grabbing it with her hands, checking it out with her tongue, whenever she is not hungry and feels like having fun.  But I have never seen her doing it with anything other than my boob or her hands, so this was definitely a first.

As for my own progress, which I will probably post every Thursday, I am doing well...except for the irritability :( which hopefully will get better.  I feel tense, probably because all I can think about is how to get my hands on more food, so I can't concentrate on anything else.  I have good results though.  Down 2 lb, and stronger in the core exercises (I can now do the plank for one minute, while just one week ago I had to struggle for 30 seconds).  I can even do it on one leg at a time, for 10 seconds each.  I just got my gymboss interval timer, and my workouts have gotten harder, since the timer beeps each time when I have to increase the intensity, and measures out my breaks.  I use it for everything, including the elliptical workouts, which I do 50 sec hard, 10 sec break, repeat times 20.  Yesterday the sweat was pouring off me like rain.

I like interval training, it is way less boring than regular 20 min of elliptical at the same pace.  The other way to spice up training is to get some new and exciting exercise clothes.  I just splurged and treated myself to some lululemon pants and jacket (the thin one that matches the pants in both colour and material, like a track suit), two bras (identical black v-neck) and one white hoodie.  My bank account is groaning in pain.  But I need some comfy exercise clothes, and I stick to that excuse.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

flattering comments...NOT!

On the plus side, I weigh 182 lb, which is very good.  Two pounds down in one week.  MrH thinks I am an irritable bitch when I lose weight, but he is willing to put up with it so on we go.  I went running today for my current 4 km distance at the indoor running track.  It is a beautiful building, with two hockey rings on the first level, a speed skating ring on the second level, and a walking/running track overlooking all the other levels.  The lady who was supervising was someone I knew from work, and she had not seen me for about two years.  She did not recognize me!  we had a long chat, and at the end she asked me where I am from.  I told her I am from Romania, and it then clicked to her who I was, and she said the first thing that came to her mind: oh my God, you used to be so skinny and pretty!  (as in now you are not!!!).  I would tell my husband about you and how good you look, how nicely your clothes fit, etc.  She went on and on.  Like I destroyed some kind of monument.  Ahem.

True enough.  I am not skinny.  But I will be.  I told her that I am running and dieting and that I have already lost 5 lb, but hey, she could not shake the disappointment off her face.   Hey, lady, I just had a baby, get over it.  But it was shocking for me to realize just how different I must look, with the extra 30 lb on board (probably the lycra pants did not do me any favours either).  It was also shocking to see how she did not believe, not truly believe, that I could lose this weight.  Puh-leeze.  Who do you think you are talking to, lady, do you have any idea how much harder having this baby was than losing 30 lb?  How much deprivation and frustration I have had to endure?  I think I could have lost 150 lb in the time that it took me to have this baby, and it would have been an easier journey.  That's the thing, surviving infertility and somehow resolving it puts one in a position of power, whether one has a baby or not at the end of it, there is no way not to look at the usual everyday problems and not shrug, as in "whatever".  It is nothing compared to what I already did.  It takes time and determination, but at least the result is pretty much guaranteed.  While as I cannot say the same thing about the IVF, or the end of a high risk pregnancy.

BTW, does anybody want to join me on this weight loss journey?  If so, post your goal in the comments section.  Once a week, let's check in.  Say on Thursdays, my usual weigh in day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

men and infertility

I read this article just now, after being directed to it by  I felt that it was written with incredible sensitivity from this man undergoing ART and finally IVF with his wife for a total of three years, without a positive result, and without great chances.  It shows just how heart-wrenching this process is, and how from the man's perspective, he is able to take other people's jokes and crassness in stride on the surface, and still affects him.  It makes me wonder if men are perhaps not less sensitive than us, but rather less likely to complain.  Less likely to share.  More likely to just "take it like a man".  I don't want to generalize, but his style of thinking and writing reminded me of my own husband, the man I know best in this lifetime, and I felt deep tenderness towards the strong male who seems that he is just "tagging along for the ride" and in reality experiencing everything just as intensely as the woman.  Including the experience of having a wife who desperately wants children and cannot have them.  (If men want children as intensely, they are better at hiding it from us than we are from them, thus the additional stress is still on them).

I did not think that IVF was a lot harder on me than on him.  We both had our share of stress, and overall it was a pretty pleasant experience.  Not as pleasant as fucking each other's brains out would have been, of course, more along the lines of a root canal, but the doctors were nice, the clinic was comfortable, and we got to travel to Vancouver where I had a wonderful time.  Not much to complain about in my case.  Plus I had some pregnancies coming out of it, which is probably what colours my experience in retrospect.  What I did find very difficult was the infertility itself, the not knowing if I would ever have a child, the incompetent cervix on top of all that making me wonder if I would have a preemie with disabilities to raise and if I was strong enough for that as well.  That is still an issue for us of course, especially now that I have lost the TAC and I will have to get a regular McDonalds next.

I feel blessed every single hour of every single day for having escaped the hell called infertility.  I only now know just how closed I was to the world, how much isolation and hurt I struggled with every day.  I feel like I am filled with light.  And in addition to this immense relief, I have this wonderful baby to love, whose hand right now rests on my breast like a butterfly touch.  And let me tell you, going from hell to heaven without transition is a wild ride.

And from the side

As promised

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My name is MsH and I am overweight. Big time (literally)!

I calculated my BMI this week, and it was not pretty:  28.  That officially places me right in the middle of the overweight range, close to obesity (obese would be 30).  I have NEVER been this fat in my whole life. I have also never carried a pregnancy to term before either, so there we go.  I cannot fit into any of my previous clothes.  If I squeeze myself into a pair of exercise pants (we are talking about the stretchy black lycra type) I need to hold my breath and avoid sitting or else the industrial strength seams might crack.  The other day I tried on my previous bathing suit for the pool (size 10) and I could not get it to slip past my knees.  I called the triboutique company from which I order my swimming gear, and gave them my measurements:  41-37-44.  They said that they don't carry anything in stock for this size (slightly larger than XL) but that they will order it in for me from the company that makes them.  Sweet, but very embarrassing conversation indeed.

And while I am aware that I have just had a baby which I am currently trying to at least partially breastfeed with my limited milk supply, this cannot go on any longer.  It is eroding on my confidence.  I am going back to work in January and would like to have some clothes to wear other than my two pairs of size 12 jeans that barely zip up (optimistic recent purchase).  I need to lose weight as much as I need air at this point.  Hence I have declared the situation a state of emergency, at least until I lose enough to fit into my priorly fat clothes.  This means that I am currently very strict with my diet, not having any sugar and limiting the fruit/grains to only one serving per meal at most.  I also have small portions.  I am hungry most of the time in the evenings.  Starting from about 4 pm, I am hungry almost non stop until dinner, and then hungry again half an hour after dinner until I fall asleep.  I hate being hungry all the time, but I know from  previous experience that the hungry stage only lasts about one week, then the stomach shrinks to a smaller size and does not need to be fed every five minutes.

I also exercise every day, some kind of cardio (either running or elliptical) for 30 min and do the workouts.  They are tough, but I can feel that they are helping build up my strength back quite quickly.  I am already pleased with my abdominal muscles, I think that they will come back to their usual position and strength in the next month.  Ditto for the quads.  The only problem that I really need to work on lots is the upper body strength.  I have never been able to do a proper chin-up and probably never will be able to due to the fact that I have spaghetti arms.  But at least I wish I could go back to doing pushups.  And that will require about one year of work, I am afraid.  And on a more achievable level, I wish I could haul around the car seat with Emma in it without feeling like my forearms will fall off.

That is the current situation, and what I am busying myself with.  The strange thing is, I have no self-hatred during this whole thing.  Before I would have felt like I am a useless piece of sausage with no will power and would have kicked myself in order to motivate the change.  Now I feel like I am doing it out of love for myself and for Emma (I want her to have a fit and beautiful mother that she is proud of, just like I did - my mom was my number one exercise partner until I moved to SmallTown in the North).  And I feel like the effort to lose the weight is part of the small price that I have had to pay to have this wonderful baby.  She is worth every bit of effort indeed, and I remember that each time I look at her (which is constantly).

I will post a "before" picture in my exercise pants and bra.  And then, on the first of every month, I will post the "after" pictures.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seven week update

Today Emma is seven weeks old.  She is growing and getting substantially stronger, and I love feeding her.  She eats with gusto.  I still only produce about 30 mL (one ounce) of breast milk at one feeding, which amounts to about one cup per day, but I feel that it has increased a little, by about five mL each time, over the past two days, so I am happy and looking forward to it increasing even more.  I know that I will likely never be able to exclusively breastfeed, but I feel that Emma and myself can call our breastfeeding journey an absolute success.  Given what I had, which was a very limited breast milk supply, a willing baby, a lot of patience, and the random finding of the SNS idea in a book, we have struggled and made it work on autopilot.  And we are both very happy, Emma because she is getting fed and she has her boob to put her to sleep and comfort her, and me because I get to bond with her in this very special way, and I have a powerful tool available to calm her down instantly.  Plus I have enough milk to soothe her if I even get caught out of the house without the SNS/formula.  

I had some worries about the soy formula, mostly after reading on various websites that its safety has been questioned in Europe (due to the phytoestrogens and also to the higher amount of manganese which can get accumulated in babies).  So far however, she is doing so very well on it that it is hard for me to justify switching her to something else, especially since many many people have done well on soy despite the current concerns.  Soy formulas have been around since the 1960's, and I think if something were terribly wrong with them, we'd have known it by now.  I am occasionally tempted to try the lactose-free formulas, but I suspect that she is allergic to the cow milk protein, since her skin broke out in such a bad rash, which cleared almost completely since the soy.  Again, I must make the best decision that I can given the circumstances, and after asking a pediatrician friend about it and being advised that it is considered safe, I will keep her on it.  If any of my readers have been on soy or put their kids on soy formula, please comment, for some reason it makes me feel better to know that I am not the only one that has made this decision. 

Emma is a very happy, very easy baby.  She cries only if hungry, and that is easily rectified.  She is finally starting to like the car rides, thank God, because so far we were avoiding the car like the plague since it was one big screaming match.  Now we are doing very well.  She loves to bath, and has a great time on Saturdays when we bath with her in the big tub.  I only use infant body wash on her once a week, usually on this occasion.  The rest of the week I find that baby poo and spit up are very much water soluble and do not require soap to clean.  And I swear she smells good :)

For myself, I have started to exercise again quite seriously.  I use the elliptical trainer for 20-30 minutes a day, or I run 4-5 km on the indoor track while pushing the stroller.  (I don't have a jogging stroller, but the Stokke is very good on the rubber track, it maneuvers easily, and it has a car seat adapter, so I use the car seat with a sleeping Emma in it).  I also hike daily for one hour in a nearby forest.  In the evenings, when MrH is home and I can do my strength exercises, I do whole body stuff like burpees, pushups, planks, medicine ball exercises, step ups on a bench, jump squats and general plyometrics.  I have found a great website with workouts already created,, and am following one workout daily, or I create my own.  I used to be very fit, and am now struggling to do pushups, or the wheel (bridge) in yoga, or generally anything that requires upper body strength.  I am improving though, and it makes it easier to do daily tasks like carrying laundry or lifting the stroller into the car.  But I am about six months from where I used to be.  I have to hold myself back and try to increase slowly, as I am prone to tendonitis if I go too fast, in particular with the running.  

As far as weight loss, I am 5'9" and used to weigh 155 lb before my pregnancy.  That was a great weight for me, easy to maintain and looking fab, in particular if I had a good muscle development.  I now weigh 184 lb.  I have lost about 3 lb in the past month, and am happy about that, it is not a lot but it is steady, so I am on the right track.  I eat pretty much the same things every day:  one cup of steel cut oats that I cook in a big pot once a week, with almond milk and 1/4 cup of walnuts in the morning, plus one cup of berries that I sprinkle on top.  For lunch I usually have a banana, and two slices of manna bread (sprouted wheat) with almond or cashew butter.  I snack on an ounce of cheese and an apple, perhaps another banana later on, and on carrots and celery sticks.  In the evenings I have a glass of carrot and celery juice, some beans or chicken casserole or steamed salmon, always with steamed veggies (zucchini or broccoli or asparagus usually) and a salad made with tomatoes and avocado and spinach leaves, usually without oil if avocado is added, but with some balsamic vinegar.  If we have desert it is usually tofu pudding or sugar free icecream.  

I know that the first part of my day is heavy on carbs, but they are mostly the slow burning kind, and I compensate by going lighter on the carbs in the evening.  We don't eat much meat or animal products, I have my homemade yogourt daily and the occasional boiled egg (MrH does not eat either), and I cook chicken once every two weeks for both of us (about four portions total), that's about it.  That leaves us with beans, nuts, fruits and veggies, and grains.  I don't intend to feed Emma a vegan diet, although she will probably eat much of what I am eating, so I don't forsee a lot of meat in her future.  I think our diet is well balanced and I have never run into any health problems, despite having eaten this way for most of my life.  In Romania meat was expensive, and always eaten in small quantities, mostly as part of a casserole dish, not as a steak or ribs or a hunk of meat in general.  I got used to it this way.  

I am having a great time so far, and am feeling very fulfilled.  No complaints at all.  People ask me if it was worth it, and I say of course, a thousand times over.  I would do it all again in a second.  Emma is so precious and makes us so happy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

first bath in the big tub



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

soy formula

It looks like the Similac is giving Emma bad cramps, she starts screaming out of the blue, she regurgitates like mad, and she has a fine rash on her face that looks like a heat rash.  Her milk donor, my friend, is gone for a few days, and we are on all formula minus the amount of breast milk that I am providing (more on that one below).  She is really suffering with the cramps.  She is a very mild, gentle baby, with big attentive eyes, and for the past 24 hours she has been crying so much that we could hardly leave the house.  The only way I got anywhere today was with her on the breast for most of the time, pushing the empty stroller while holding her latched on to pacify.

So today we decided to change her over to Isomil, a soy based formula.  Because she is so young, and because of the SNS, I am using the concentrate, and adding filtered water.  I don't know if I will be able to use powder formula in the SNS at a later date, so I might have to carry with me the cooling container in order to transport the concentrate whenever we go somewhere.  That is ok.  Everything is worth the fun we are both having "breastfeeding".  I don't know whether to use the term or not, but she is literally feeding on the breast, it's just that she is getting formula more than breast milk.  She loves it, and I love it, becoming more and more comfortable with the tubing and the container of liquid around my neck, the rest is like the old fashion way.  I hope we can keep doing it for a long time, in any case for as long as we both enjoy it.

But back to the Isomil, she is really better on it, after the second serving she has stopped cramping, she burps much less, and seems calmer.  It might be a fluke, so I will wait a few more days before I pronounce the verdict on it, but so far it is definitely well tolerated.  As far as my breast milk goes...I pumped four times today, in between feedings, and I got a glorious total of 50 mL (just under 2 oz).  I don't know how much of that she is getting in addition to the embarrassing pump output, but hey, any amount is good.  I don't think it is decreasing, but I am not seeing a big increase either.  I think that might be it, the cow is leaving...

On a totally unrelated note, this morning I had a whole hour to myself!  I woke up suddenly at 6:30, remembering that I left the barbecue on with eggplants on it ... yesterday, at 4 pm!  I went to check on the barbecue.  The gas had run out (duh!) and the eggplants were carbonized, only the dark shells remaining.  I cleaned up the mess, and then I got on with some things that require two hands, which I don't often have.  I showered, washed and dried my hair with a hairdryer (!), epilated my legs, underarms and bikini line with the silk-epil, plucked my eyebrows, put makeup on, put lotion on, and then, being all done with my grooming, I started grooming the cat!  I cut her clumps of hair, cut her nails on the front paws, and petted her a little as she does not get much attention from me lately, except when she jumps on the bed (and that would be the undesirable sort of attention).  It was a much needed hour for both of us.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Baby paraphenalia

I did not want a lot of stuff when I got pregnant, and as time went on, I tried to decide what was absolutely necessary, and what was desirable, from other people's experiences.  I hope my experience will help others decide what to try and what to forgo.  As a warning, I am not fond of clutter, I generally don't like garish colours and I absolutely hate plastic toys, and anything that is not environmentally friendly, so that should explain some of my choices.

1.  cloth diapers.  I wanted to write a separate post on these, but there is not much to say.  I chose g-diapers because they were the only ones I had seen (here in my town, the cloth diapers are rare, and my friend had a g-diaper to show me, I thought it was ok and went for it).  I wash them daily, one doesn't have to wash the whole diaper, just the cotton insert, but I wash the whole thing anyway each time.  I bought eight pairs and it is enough.  If you plan on doing laundry every second day, then I guess you'd need about sixteen pairs of all-in-one diapers, or about twenty inserts for the G-diapers, or twenty prefolds.  I take the dirty diaper off, and rinse it if it is poop, then throw the insert in a bowl filled with water and a little nature friendly peroxide solution.  In the mornings, I dump the water and do the laundry, including my clothes, my husband's clothes, and Emma's clothes and everything else in the house minus the towels around the bird cage which I always do separately every second day.  I am not squeamish about baby poop, it smells clean (especially if breastfed) and they do not have much in the way of harmful bacteria at this point.  When she starts on solids I will probably do the diapers separately, as it might require a longer cycle, right now I just do a rapid wash cycle with warm water and nature friendly detergent (we use Nature Clean right now).  I line dry in the house most of the time, and if in a hurry then I use the drier and feel appropriately guilty.  They always come out clean and smell-free. 

2.  cloth wipes.  I use fuzzybunz wipes.  I bought a packet of 10.  I wash them, fold them in a little box on the changing table, and when I need to use them I wet them with water from a thermos (I like it warm for Emma's comfort, so I put it in the thermos hot twice a day), no soap or other cleansers, and wipe her with it, then put them into the bowl of water.  

3.  I don't have a diaper pail, I just use a large bowl filled with water, which I rinse out every day.

4.  I don't use any baby lotion, potion or anything else.  Everybody in the house uses the same kind of wash, which is Dr. Bronner soap, and I will soon change to Live Clean baby wash for everyone as well.  It is much simpler than having a separate soap/shampoo for each person. I use cornstarch for her bottom if it gets red, but she has never had a diaper rash so it is more preventative.  I store it in a glass bowl and apply it with a cotton pad. 

5.  We don't have a baby tub.  I wash Emma in the sink every morning, or I have a shower with her.  I wash the sink beforehand, and I don't use it for anything other than me and her.  We share the same bacterial flora anyway. 

6.  A change table is a nice thing.  She loves the change table as it has a plant that extends a branch over it, and she loves looking at it.  I find it easier on my back than changing her on the bed, but I am pretty tall.  I also needed it to store her clothes into, so I picked one with three drawers.  

7.  I have an Ergo carrier with the infant insert and I love it.  I use it for walks, for housework, and for my daily exercise on the elliptical trainer which I have started last week.  Emma loves sleeping in it, especially on the elliptical.  If you like your hands free, get one. 

8.  I also like the Stokke stroller a lot, and use it for my daily shopping trips to the grocery store.  I like to buy small amounts of food often, and the stroller has a nice bag on the bottom that fits all my groceries.  I  can also maneuver it with one hand and hold her in the other hand if she wants to breastfeed (or more like pacify on my rather underachieving breasts) or to be held.  During the day I use the stroller's bassinet for her to sleep in.   But I consider a stroller entirely optional, as the Ergo can do the job just fine.

9.  A fleece blanket for the stroller, as it gets cold.  I got a fleece sleeping bag, since it is quite windy here.

10.  About four Aden and Anais blankets in organic cotton, they are soft and gauzy and amazing for swaddling, covering her against the sun, and using as a cover when breastfeeding if one feels the need to cover.  I have about twelve of them, but I did not really need this many.  I just love them.

11.  Four onesies, three pairs of pants, and three long sleeve tops.  Two pajamas or sleepers.  I also found invaluable a fleece costume that I got for going out on windy/cold days. 

12.  Two hats, one in some kind of wool (I prefer cashmere or merino) for cold weather, one in cotton.   Wash the cashmere one by hand or in the machine on cold/cold cycle and line dry.

13.  Two pairs of wool/cashmere socks.  Her feet were very cold in cotton socks, and since I got the cashmere ones she is much more comfortable.  I keep them on her feet with hair elastics and make sure that the elastics are not too tight and do not leave marks on her skin. We don't use mittens yet, but will use thick cashmere/wool ones in winter. 

14.  I did not need a change pad so far, but I suppose that if you travel or are outside of the house for a long time you would need one.  So far I changed her on her blanket, making sure to interchange the diapers quickly as to avoid her peeing on it.  

15.  I don't have a diaper bag.  If I leave the house, I just take one clean diaper, one ziploc bag, one pair of pants, and the bottle or the SNS as I don't produce enough milk for her at this point.  All of these fit in my purse.

16.  I have six Aden and Anais washcloths that I use to wipe the burped milk off her face.  I don't use bibs.  If she gets dirty, I change her, but I find that if I hold the washcloth in front of her face when I burp her, she does not get dirty.  If I get dirty I wipe the spot with a wet towel, and I wash all my clothes daily with hers anyway. 

17.  A car seat.  We got a Graco, don't get it, it sucks.  It does not have a button to loosen the slack on the straps so I have to use the metal belt buckles for that every time, which takes half an hour.  That is why we walk and avoid the car like the plague.  By winter I might inherit a Peg perego from a friend and be delivered from my pain.  MAKE SURE YOUR CAR SEAT HAS A BUTTON TO LOOSEN THE SLACK ON THE SHOULDER STRAPS.  THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE!

18.  We don't have a crib.  She sleeps in our bed and will do so until she no longer wants to.   MrH and I don't mind at all and in fact we like it.  The two of us will have sex on top of the washing machine in the broom closet while she is sleeping.  (If I had a dollar for each time people ask us this question!).  We have several beds in the house anyway, if the need to be conventional strikes us. 

19.  We don't use a pacifier.   She hates them.

20.  If you breastfeed you don't need more than two bottles with nipples for emergencies.  Heck, one would suffice.  I use the SNS, and my two bottles, but have several bottles for transporting the donor milk back and fourth from her house to mine.  If you are a good "milky" like my friend's daughter calls it, then a manual pump would suffice.  Or even hand expression.  I need an industrial strength double pump for my barren breasts.

21.  Somebody lent us a swing, and I am very excited to see if it prolongs her morning nap time, so that I can get more housework done.  I would not have bought one otherwise though.

22.  A pair of nail clippers.  Any kind will do, just keep them for the baby only.

That is it.  I don't like baby toys, so I will let her have one rubber one, and up to three fuzzy soft ones, that is it.  She can play with household items like we did growing up.  I don't think I had more than four toys during my whole childhood, and I still remember them.  I get terrified when I walk into someone's house and I see it filled to the brim with garishly coloured plastic toys.  It cannot be good for the kid's attention span anyway.

end of list.  let me know what you guys think.