Friday, April 24, 2009

DIY baby announcements: the end result

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A while back, I posted about DIY baby announcements. I made some announcements for my son's birth, and I thought I'd share the results with you.

The details:

Software: Photoshop CS on a G5 PowerMac
Printer: Epson Stylus Photo R1900
Card: 5x7 bulk stationary from Love their stuff! The envelope was a matching (well, almost matching) brown to the stripe.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

big smiles

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Nathanael is smiling at us!

Just like with Elizabeth, Jude caught the first smiles, but I figure he might as well catch some of the firsts!

I do just about anything to get a smile out of him. Today at lunch, I was tickling his lips with my finger, touching his nose while saying "Beep" and making other silly sounds and faces. Most importantly, I caught his eyes. Oh how he watches - I love his smiles, and I stop just about everything if I see his eyes crinkle up, and his cheeks pull up big and round.

Of course, I'm so busy looking at his smiles, I haven't caught one on camera yet. Soon, soon!

Interior Design done badly

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Just like my grammar and spelling, interior design can be done badly.

Typically, the general public thinks about interior design in terms of color and arranging furniture. Sure, that can be an important part of the game. But most important is whether the space is designed in a way that solves the problem, or answers the questions of the user. Is the space designed in response to the needs of the occupants?

Many of us have watched interior design shows on networks like HGTV. Honestly, much of that stuff drives me nuts, and here's a typical example of why:

The show was either design on a dime or trading spaces. I don't recall which. It was several years ago when I saw the episode. The scene that I remember is the reveal to the couple involved, showing their newly redesigned bedroom. I will tell you it looked cool. The old room was a mess, badly arranged in a way that definitely didn't address the needs of the couple. The redesign focused on creating a "couples only space." Why? Because the designer thought they needed some space from their infant child who also slept in their room. How was this accomplished (other than using the cliche red and black to create a romantic atmosphere)? By moving the baby's bassinet away from being a sidecar to the bed.

Dumb. Absolutely unresponsive to the needs of the parents and the child. The baby's bassinet is now across the room. I can almost guarantee that within a day, that baby's bassinet was right back where it started, on mom's side of the bed. Either the designer had no understanding of parenting, or was impervious to the fact that someone might parent differently.

Having a child sleep very near it's parents is typically not an issue of space. They could have easily put the baby in a different part of the room, or in another room entirely if that had been their desire. But they choose to have their baby along side the bed for their own reasons. Maybe the child is a troubled sleeper, and sleeps best near mom. Maybe mom breast feeds the baby, and finds it more restful to have her infant close by so she doesn't have to spend extra time getting up and going to another part of the house, contributing to less sleep.

So to all of my interior design friends out there - Don't make assumptions based on your own parenting style, or your opinions about how to parent (including where a child should sleep). Find out why a family function they way the do, and design around those needs.

Note: Although I'm not actively employed in interior design as a profession at this point in my life, interior and environmental design is my professional training, and I reserve the right to cringe at bad work.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

sounds around the house

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Elizabeth is singing now. I have a series of songs in a play list, and she sings the lyrics to several of them in her own timing. I smile when I hear her own version of falsetto (don't know why she does this). So phrases I hear from songs are: "You make me beautiful!" "no, no, no, no" "Shake it" and several others I can't think of off hand.

Nathanael is starting to make sounds of his own. E was not much of a babbler or sound maker and an infant, so to hear these little coos for Nathanael is fun. Up to now he had the typical pigeon sounds often associated with hunger. He sometimes throws in
growls and grunts that remind me of the sounds Master Yoda makes - "Hmmmm." Now, though, he occasionally produces a "whooo!" sound that makes actual use of vocal cords. What fun!

Yesterday we went to Wal-Mart, and we gave the ladies monitoring the self-check out a chuckle. I wanted to know how much Nathanael weighs, so I could determine if it was time to buy the next size up in disposable diapers. I took him to the check out lane, and laid him on the scale. I figure since it has to be accurate and legal for trade, it would give me a good assessment of his weight. 9 pounds, with diaper and clothes! So, yes, it would be wise to purchase size one diapers instead of newborn diapers.

Some photos from a day out with the family:

Notice the cute little froggie faces on the feet of this newborn outfit from his aunt Emma. He'll fit this for about 2 more days!

I have hopes of eventually catching up and putting some pictures up on my flickr. I also have hopes that I'll get my printed baby announcements out this week. Last baby, I had the announcements out within a week of birth. I'm doing good to be working on them at 3 weeks postpartum. Oh how time slips through my fingers!

That makes me think of something else that's different when parenting two:

Everything Takes Longer. It took me an hour to get both kids and myself ready to go shopping yesterday, and that didn't include anything fancy like me showering. I kept forgetting things like, Change diapers! pack extra changes of clothes and diapers in the bag! baby in seat, toddler in seat... Forgot the shopping list! forgot the shopping bags, what else I am forgetting...

Another new lesson I've learned about parenting two:

Don't leave the older child alone with the younger child for a second. I stepped out of the room to deal with laundry, leaving Nathanael on a blanket on the floor in the living room, Elizabeth on the couch watching a movie. I come back to the living room to find an empty blanket, and the baby lying on the treadmill in the other room. Ack! My mom tells me a story of me and the brother immediately older than me - he about 3 years older and he crawled into the play pen with me, and while choking me with his arm while hugging me, he exclaimed, "I'm playin' with the baby!" Alas, I think nowhere would be safe.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

reality check: from parenting 1 to parenting 2

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I've been discovering the differences in parenting two children versus parenting one child. In some ways, I'm sad for my second child, that he won't have the same kind of attention as an infant that Elizabeth, as my first child, had.

Here are some of the differences I've already noticed after 2. 5 weeks as a parent of 2 kids:

Fewer photos - yes, this is what everyone always says, but I'm still sad about it. I had hoped to beat the stereotype, but I find it's an issue of time, not an issue of not caring. When you're chasing the older child, you simply have fewer opportunities to sit and stare at your lovely newborn while photographically documenting ever burp, bubble, blink and babble.

Less arm-time - I find I hold my infant son less than I held Elizabeth, and use mechanical soothers and containment devices more than I care to. I haven't yet worked out the art of using my third magical hand. So, In order to work with Elizabeth, and more importantly, to keep Nathanael safe from the loving clutches of his older sister ("Hold de baby?!?") I place him in a safe area while I deal with diapers, household activities, and simple things like going to the bathroom. I'm thankful that I have a baby carrier (a Moby Wrap) that gives me 2 hands free. Unfortunately Nathanael doesn't like to be in it for long periods of time - he starts to fuss after a while. I may need to invest in another type of carrier.

Less new-mom nervousness - I remember being concerned about every fuss and cry with Elizabeth. I must be more practiced now, and I recognize that (depending on the kind of cry) I can take the time to finish my shower, or whatever little task I'm doing and then pick up and soothe the baby. While I functionally did the same with Elizabeth, I'm less anxious about Nathanael waiting and fussing for a bit while I finish up.

2 in diapers = using more disposables - I intend to post more on this later, but I find that my diapering philosophy has changed somewhat - I'm using more disposables, especially at night for 2 reasons - my sanity and my sanity :) Yes, I must be a bad mom, but using a disposable on Nathanael means that he can stay in a diaper for just a bit longer at night, which equals fewer diaper changes and more sleep for me. Considering my experiences with post-partum anxiety last time, I'm willing to put a few more disposable diapers in a landfill for the sake of not being afraid that I'll have an unmanageable panic attack every time I leave the house. I also have trouble keeping up with washing diapers nearly every day. Using disposables at night means I can go just a bit longer before I need to wash the diapers. I hope to return to cloth diapers full time in a few weeks. I feel like a traitor to my environmental and health ideals, but I guess my ability to cope comes first!

Less documentation - Already I'm behind in documenting Nathanael's life in a baby memory book. I don't even have one for him! Even if I did, I think I would have less time to just write the little things in his life down. With Elizabeth, I could spend most of the day sitting in the rocking chair, holding the baby and typing or writing one handed. Not so much when I have a toddler to chase!

More television baby sitting - I told myself that this would not be me, but I find that keeping Elizabeth occupied and quiet by watching a movie is sometimes worth it. We have been watching at least one movie a day. I intend to wean us from this bad habit, but I recognize that I am a bit of a lazy parent, and if it will give me 30 minutes of relative peace while I make dinner or take a shower, I'll use it. I want to find alternatives, so if you have suggestions, please offer them up!

I'm sure as Jude returns to work and the children and I settle into our own weekly routine that I'll find more interesting things in being the parent of two. I'm sad that things won't be as ideal as I would like, but I accept the reality that being the sole parent 4 days of every 7 means that there will be some sacrifices for me to manage caring for my children and my own well-being.
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