Tuesday, August 31, 2010

sleep changes

photo by the hubs 

Last night was the first in about two weeks that the boy slept throught the night.  It's been awful.  It's amazing to think how we function as new mother's.  I remember my midwife telling me that I had to ensure I got at least a total of six hours of sleep per day, even if it was broken up.

Now, almost 18 months later, a mere two weeks of broken sleep and I feel like a mess.  It started with a nasty bought of teething, which surprisingly resulted in two top molars cutting.  Once the teething started to ease up however, the boy started experiencing what I suspect are night terrors.

Multiple times this week the boy has woken up screaming and flailing within about two hours of falling asleep.  He did not seems to be soothed or calmed by our parental presence and when he did finally settle, as soon as I got close to putting him back in his crib he would resume screaming.  We ended up sleeping together in the spare bedroom a few times this past week just so I could get some rest and the boy was out like a light within moments of laying down.

After discussions with my Mom (I suffered from night terrors too) and reading through some Google search results, I feel like I have a better handle on what we might be facing.

What a conundrum, tired toddlers are more likely to experience terrors, but how do you get your child to sleep when he keeps having terrors?  We decided to focus on comfort.  Last night I had a nice bath with the boy, we washed and played then went about our nighttime routine.  Only last night I decided to put a light quilt into the boys bed so that I could tuck him in nice and tight.

This was not a random act, recently I've noticed that more and more the boy is putting his head on my shoulder and his hands at his sides when we have our pre-sleepy-time snuggles.  He is essentially assuming the swaddle position and that's absolutley about comfort for him.  Tucking him in seemed like a reasonable extension to swaddling, especially now that the boy's a toddler and the suffocation risks associated with blankets in the bed are long gone. 

I don't know if tucking the boy in had anything to do with sleeping through the night, with no wake-ups and no terrors, but I do know he calmed and settled in quickly when I tucked him in.  I did it again tonight and now we've passed the two hour mark without any incident.  I suspect I'll be tucking the boy in each night from this point on, I don't really see any downfalls and in all truth its starting to feel like fall around here so an extra blanket will surely be welcome.

Do you tuck your little one in?
How old was your little one when you started to tuck them in?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Buckwheat Pancakes

I love breakfast.  I've always loved breakfast.  Before my gluten-free existence, I would relish  in the delicious laziness of a Sunday morning breakfast out; I nearly always ordered the eggs benny with chunky hashbrowns.  Despite my many breakfasts eaten in a restaurant, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I never ordered just pancakes.  I've never really been a fan, in hindsight I'm sure it had to do with the fact that they are laden with gluten.

Ironically, since going gluten-free, pancakes are something I've been determined to master.  I've tried gluten-free pancake recipes and mixes and I've adapted traditional pancake recipes, but I've never managed to get quite the right blend to create a fluffy but stable gluten-free pancake.

This weekend however, I had success with these gluten-free buckwheat pancakes - the boy gobbled an entire one up in 5 minutes flat!  Aesthetically, they appear a little grey in colour, but in terms of texture and taste, these pancakes were amazing; fluffy and light and they didn't fall apart when I tried to eat them.  They are filling and nutritious and let me assure you, buckwheat is gluten-free (despite the fact that 'wheat' is in the name) and is a source of fibre, iron, potassium and protein.

I served these with Vegan Becel and blue agave syrup for the boy, which mean he gets all the buttery, sweetness without an unnecessary sugar spike or eczema-triggering dairy.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
Buckwheat Pancakes
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/8 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xantham gum

3/4-1 cup rice (or other non-dairy) milk
1 egg
1tsp baking soda
2 tbsp oil

  • Whisk together buckwheat flour, potato starch, sugar, baking powder, salt and xantham gum. 
  • Mix together 3/4 cup rice milk, egg, baking soda and oil.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well - add additional rice milk as needed to get your desired consistency.
  • Heat non-stick pan over medium heat with a small amount of oil, margarine or PAM.
  • Pour batter by 1/4 cup onto hot pan and cook until bottom is browned and batter just begins to bubble, about 2 minutes.
  • Flip pancakes and cook another minute until cooked through.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

babibu beautiful.bamboo.babywear review

Do you ever think about starting your own business, about leaving behind your current life and taking a chance on a dream?  I think we all do, sometimes.  Sometimes I think in another life I could have opened a gluten-free bakery or written a book, but right now, in this life, I'm right where I want to be.

And I'm willing to guess that Sarah Lopez, mom behind babibu is pretty happy where she is too.  Sarah was recently the featured mom on True Cuddles, where you she shares her story; how it all started as a way to clothe her own son in eco-friendly, stylish attire, and now less than a year after the launch, babibu is a 'beautiful.bamboo.babywear.' reality - way to go Momma!  And her son was born the same month as the boy - seriously, kudos to you Sarah! 
babibu collage - msb
I was fortunate enough to receive a pair of karate pants for the purposes of this review and they are soft, really soft. When I pulled them out of the envelope, they immediately went to my cheek.  The bamboo is light and flowy, wicks away moisture, is hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-static; perfect for the boys sensitive skin.

I found the sizing on these pants generous, I simply rolled the waistband down a few times and the pants fit perfectly.  Since bamboo is so thin, there was no bulky roll around his waist.  The karate pants washed and dried easily, and didn't seem to pill up, which some of my other bamboo products have done in the past.  They did however catch some cat hair on them, but not enough to be bothersome.

In terms of aesthetics, I think they look adorable, however both my Mom and Sister told me they looked like culottes.  They went so far as to tell me they would make great 'house pants'.  So, what do you all think?  Cute pants or or not-so-cute culottes?  The pants are also available in slim, which may have been a better choice for the boy's little bum and hips.

Designed and handmade in Toronto, I'm a fan of supporting Canadian entreupeners, particularly when they make quality, eco-friendly products.  And babibu is doing just that, make sure you check them out on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on all their news. Babibu makes super soft, eco-friendly products, I rate them a 4!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Memories 12: Grade 10 / age 15

In Grade10, I went to outdoor education at Strathcona; the program I was in at school, allowed us to go each year between grade 8 and 10.  That meant that it was my last chance not only to attend, but also to try out my my chosen activity, white water canoeing.

While everyone else wanted white water kayaking, and though I would have enjoyed it, I was excited about the companionship of riding two through river rapids, of not being the sole person responsible for my safety.  I was happy to be the person in the front, the one responsible for paddling, for paddling hard, for paddling steady and for paddling enough for the two of us.  The girl in the back, she was responsible for steering.  Seemed like a fair trade off to me.

It was amazing, water spraying in my face, the river roaring beneath me, it was a beautiful, adrenaline-filled serenity.  It made my heart pound and left me feeling vulnerable, strong and connected to the Earth.  I've never been white water canoeing again, but I've also never forgotten the magic of the moment and the power of the river.

I embraced my power in more than one way that year, I also got my first job.  My parents were on a two week cruise and while they were gone, I applied, interviewed and had my first shift working in a retail store in my local mall.

I would work there for about four years on a part-time basis and I loved it every moment of it.  I enjoyed talking to customers, helping them find the perfect outfit, or the blouse that fit their body 'just right'.  I was enthusiastic, but not pushy and I was always empathetic and genuine.  I shared myself with the customers and in exchange they trusted me, and they bought clothes from me.  Over the years, I had some customers that would only come in if I was working. 

I liked having my own money, my own life and my own responsibilities that had nothing to do with my family, in particular my siblings.  It was empowering to work and it still is, though these days are all about family responsibilities and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Amazing how much we can evolve over the course of a lifetime.

This is post 12/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales
Make sure you check out all the other great posts here!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teething & Advil

I’ve been noticeably, or perhaps not so noticeably absent, from my blog the past week and the truth is that I miss it. I miss sharing my experiences and expressing my emotions through words. I also miss reading about all the great adventures in motherhood that are happening all over the world. I’ve started using Google Reader (finally), so I have at least been able to peek in on my favourite blogs like Accustomed Chaos, Glamamom, Enjoying the Small Things and Ivy League Insecurities to name a few.

So where have I been?
I have two words…TEETHING BABY.

Last week was absolutely one of the worst weeks we’ve had in months. The boy doesn’t handle teething well and tends to have at least 3 week long cycles of crankiness & pain before a tooth cuts; he doesn’t like the Razbaby teether, ice cubes wrapped in wash cloths, teething rings or teething toys. We’ve tried homeopathic remedies such as Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Boiron Camilia Drops but they only seem to be effective for low-level pain. If I don’t get the homeopathic remedies into the boy when he is still relatively calm, they have literally no effect. I also recently realized that the Hylands are in a lactose (milk sugar) base, so they may irritate the boys eczema, but I believe eczema skin reactions are usually a result of the milk protein rather than the milk sugar.

So what does the boy like when he’s teething? TV and Advil.

YES, I give the boy drugs when his teeth hurt.
YES, I let the boy watch more TV than usual when he's teething.
YES, sometimes I feel guilty about drugging up my child.
YES, sometimes I give the boy Advil pre-emotively before bed if it has been a tough day and the past few nights have been bad.

Does that make me a bad Mother? Sometimes the thought sneaks into my head, but I do my best to banish it. I wouldn’t want to suffer through pain that would make me scream the way that he does and neither should he. Particularly when he fails to find relief from all of the other ‘teething treatments’ I’ve tried to date.

I was reading an article in my Today’s Parent Magazine the other day and I was ecstatic to read this article on Teething Symptoms and Solutions. Check out the third page of the article where it discusses ‘pain meds’ and indicates that not only is it ok to give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen, it is much safer than using oral gels which contain benzocaine and can impact blood circulation with too much use.

This article made me feel better about the fact that the boy was drugged for almost 3 days solid last week. It didn’t make up for the sleep lost to multiple night-time wakings and the cuddles that ensued all last week, but it did help me remember that I know my child better than anyone and if I think he’s in pain, I’m going to do whatever I can to make him feel better. Even if that means giving him a dose of Advil. As an aside, we use ibuprofen rather than acetaminophen because it helps with inflammation AND pain.

What are your tricks for a teething baby? 
Do you use pain meds for your child's teething pain? Why or why not?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Memories 11: Grade 9 / Age 14

Grade 9 was the year I changed from Pathfinders (Girl Guides) to Venturers (Boy Scouts).  I had been involved in Guiding since a very young age but by the time I was a teenager it was far too structured for my tastes.  It seems a drastic move, but my friend's cousin had an all girls Venturer group; both my best friend and I jumped ship.

It was awesome.

We did community service and participated in City-wide events, but what we really loved was the camping.  Throughout the year there is a number of huge Scouting events where groups from all over would get together and camp.  They were super fun events, one camp in particular always had beach volleyball nets set and would always have one big event like sumo wrestling suits or a climbing wall.  But, regardless of the other activities, every camp had a dance on the Saturday night.

There was a lot more boys than girls at these events and the dances were a great way to flirt (or attempt to flirt in my case) with a cute boy or two.  Meeting boys at camp was different than school, I never pretended to be someone other than myself, but at the same time, they never had to witness me in all my dorky glory.  Since we never lived in the same city, I didn't have to live every emotion of high school drama day in, day out; that was saved for the weekends; I liked the separation of these very different aspects of my life.

The earliest teenage years are by far some of the most difficult for a woman, or it was for me at least.  This is only one story, one experience.  From the ages of 13-16 there are so many more tales of discovery, of life and of love.  Unfortunately, like many others, in those years I spent far too much energy concerned with what others thought instead of focusing on discovering who I was, who I wanted to be and how to make the two visions meet, though I suspect the two will never overlap completely.

This is post 11/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Earths Best Disposable Diaper Review & Giveaway Link

Before the boy was born, we went through the great diaper debate; cloth vs disposable.  Although cloth won out, we decided to use Happy Nappy Diaper Service to avoid washing diapers and of course the dreaded ‘poop in the washing machine’.  That being said, when we travel we use disposables.
Earth’s Best are the number one choice for disposable diapers at our house; we’ve tried a few other brands, but none have given me the peace of mind that Earth’s Best does.  Their diapers are unbleached, chlorine-free and free from latex, dyes and fragrance.  All of which equate to a product that is safe for the boys sensitive, eczema-prone tushy.  

Earths Best also utilizes wood pulp from renewable and sustainable forest practices, wheat and corn from renewable resources for added absorbency and uses proportionally more sustainable products than petroleum based products. 

This is a commendable feat, did you know that every 'regular' disposable diaper requires 1 cup of crude oil to manufacture the plastic?  Multiplied by an estimated 7,200 diaper changes in a child's lifetime*, the statistics are staggering.  The little choices in life sometimes have a huge impact.

Diaper fit is very subjective and will absolutely vary with the size and shape of your little one.  At our house we have found that when the boy fits two diaper sizes the larger does a better job controlling blow-outs.  With regard to absorbency, we have had no issues during the day; however in the evening, the boy tends to have leakages and need at least one diaper change through the night.

Earth's Best is a great disposable diaper and it is our choice when we need a diaper on the go.  Rather than chancing foreign diapers and potential chemicals the boy and I packed Earth's Best Diapers across Asia for 3 weeks.  

Every day I strive to maintain my commitment to nature and Earth's Best helps me do this when cloth diapers aren't an option.  With Earth's Best I'm confident that just as the name states, not only are these diapers best for the Earth (compared to traditional disposable), they are best for the boy.  I rate Earth's Best Diapers a 4.5/5.

Check out the Earths Best Website for more information and to:

* Statistics taken from an email-course by the New & Green Diaper Company

This post documents my own personal opinion of Earth's Best Disposable Diapers, without influence, however I was provided with a package for Earth's Best Diapers for the purposes of this review.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

there's no place like Home

There's nothing like a little time away to remind you just how nice it is to be home.  After a week away we were all ready to return to life, as soon as I told the boy this morning he signed 'home' - totally adorable.

The trip started off busy, Saturday morning we had a 5 hour drive and a two o'clock wedding but we made good time and although the boy was cranky for a while, he slept for about an hour and a half so I can't really complain.  The wedding was beautiful; an intimate, casual, lakefront affair.  The boy and I watched from behind the action with our feet in the lake, fortunately it kept him happy, I could still watch the ceremony, and I knew the bride wouldn't mind.


We spent two more days in Lake Country and had the opportunity to spend the majority of our time with our newly married friends and family at the lake.  T is one of my closest friends; we met in prenatal class and her son is exactly a month younger than the boy.  I took great delight watching our boys, only bumps in our bellies when we met, playing on beach, splashing in the waves and mucking in the sand.

My sister-in-law and nephews spend their summers at their trailer in a riverside campground, en route to home, so we stopped in there and spent three full days relaxing and playing in the sun.

It was amazing to see the boy interacting with all the kids in the campground.  He was covered in dirt by 8am every day and was quick to spot the play guns and tote them all around the playground like the big boys, despite the fact that they were far too big for him.

The hubs had his birthday while we were at the river.  Fishing, family time and a BBQ dinner in the company of family - a lovely day amongst a truly great vacation, but Dorothy was right, 'there's no place like home'.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Memories 10: Grade 8 / Age 13

Grade 8 was a memorable year for me, not only did I start a new school, I started a new 'motivated students' program and almost more importantly I learned some very important lessons about boys, life and lying.

In some ways I've always been social.  I find it easy to engage in conversation and am rarely intimidated by other people.  But as a young girl, boys were any exception to the norm.  When confronted with a cute boy, I would suddenly become painfully shy and lose all my sparkle and charisma.  I had no idea how to interact, where to look, what to say, even a friendly smile became difficult when it came to boys.

My gym class was a split grade 8/9 class and right from the beginning, I had a crush on Matt.  He was tall and shy with shaggy brown hair.  We never really talked and I'm not really sure how he knew I was interested or how he got my number, but somehow he did.  And he called.

We went out on two 'dates', the first time we went ice skating, his Mom picked us up and drove us there (this was as awkward as you might have expected).  We chatted, talked and had a good time, though I'm pretty sure we didn't hold hands.  We were both incredibly nervous and although I had hung out with boys while camping in the summer, it was my first real date and I suspect it may have been his too.

The second time we went to a movie at the mall.  Before the movie we were strolling around the mall and while in HMV I ran into one of my Mom's good friends.  I told her I was at the mall with my girl friend, Joanne - I didn't think she could see Matt and figured there was nothing to worry about.  I obviously couldn't tell her the truth, I hadn't told my Mom I was going out with a boy.

I'm pretty sure the movie was "The Ghost and The Darkness"and although I'm sure I enjoyed myself, I don't remember much.  What I do remember is that when I got home, my Mom fully busted me for lying.  She explained that I was old enough to go out with boys, but that I needed to tell her.  She explained the burden of carrying around lies and that eventually all will be revealed and end up far more hurtful than if the truth had been told in the first place.

From that day forward I stopped lying.  I do lie by omission, but rarely (if ever) say something that is not true.  Do Not Lie is grade 8 lesson number one.  Number two has a little bit more to do with asserting yourself and putting yourself out there.

Although we had been on two dates, Matt and I still never spoke at school.  Not in the halls, not in gym class, not anywhere.  We were both so shy.  On Valentines day however, our entire class had a half hour detention and when I finally made my way to my locker, Matt was waiting with a card.  I just about melted and truly thought that meant that our 'relationship' was changing.

He called me that weekend and wanted to go out, but I had to turn him down.  It was Chinese New Year and I had a family dinner.  He asked if I could go out after and I told him that it often went to 9 or 10pm and I wouldn't be allowed to go out after that.

He thought I was brushing him off and never called again.  I never called him, though I had the number.  I was heartbroken, but never did a thing about it.  The worst part is, he was probably heartbroken too.

Grade 8, Lesson number 2: Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and express yourself.  The worst thing that will happen is that you won't have something you already don't have.

This is post 10/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Independence at 16.5 months


The boy is getting so big, so fast.  He's so independent these days and he's beginning to assert his will and display his personality.  He's testing boundaries and pushing back on pretty much everything.
  • My son who eagerly crawled up the stairs each night for bath time, now happily runs around naked, but refuses to sit in the tub.  He's stopped crying every night (thank goodness that only lasted about a week) but there's no way he's sitting down and making things easy.
  • He recently tried signing to my Mom that he wanted to 'eat' right at the exact moment she put him into the crib for nap time; Good try little man, your Popo is way tougher than that.
  • The boy refused plastic spoons in favour of regular cutlery months ago and now rarely lets me feed him, or even help guide the spoon into his mouth.  He does let me load the spoon up with food, but I need to put it back on his tray for him to pick up himself or he purses his lips and shakes his head no.
  • The boy waited 14 months before he started walking, two months later he's running and refusing to hold our hands.  Fortunately once he figured out what the Teddy Bear Harness was for, he was in love.  He now pulls at it on the way out the door, this silly little bear means his freedom and he knows it.
I'm so proud of him, he's taking the world by storm and I love it.  The fact that its all happening so quickly and I'm away from him for so much of each day, I don't love quite so much.  Although I know he will always need me, I also know he'll never need me in quite the same way.  I guess just as the boys independence strengthens him, it tests my resolve by tweaking my working mommy guilt.

How is your little one expressing his/her personality?
How do you cope with your child's budding independence?  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Memories 9: Grade 7 / Age 12

Where I live, grade 7 is your last year of elementary school, I had been a student at Lord Byng since Kindergarten and it felt like home.  At the end of the year, I was asked to give the Grade 7 farewell speech; I was honoured to be asked and put a lot of time and effort into the endeavour.

My entire family, including my gramma, came to see me speak (or so I thought), which was both exciting and nerve wracking.  Before the speeches, came the awards.  I wasn't expecting to receive any, so when they called my name for the June Chiba Humanitarian Award, I was in complete awe.  Our Principal Mrs. Chiba had passed away a few years prior and the award was intended to honour a student who displayed her loyalty, compassion and goodwill.

After receiving the award, I was on cloud nine.  I felt so proud to stand up before my friends and family, to share my thoughts on graduation. 
Next year the grade seven's will be moving on to Junior High.  Everything is going to change.  The grade six's will become grade seven's.  The grade seven's will move on the grade eight, and most of us will become the little kids in kindergarten again.  Just like our first day of school at Byng, we will be new.

If Junior High is kindergarten, then elementary school is preschool.  Once you arrive at kindergarten, your on your own again.  Most of your friends have moved on to kindergarten at other schools.

Going into kindergarten we were afraid of all those big people at the school.  But we survived, and made friends, and it will happen again.

But there is one difference, going into kindergarten you think about building blocks and dinosaurs, but going into Junior High you think about the future.

Thank you.
Pretty profound for a 12 year old if you ask me.

This is post 9/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales
Make sure you check out all the other great posts here!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Zoodles Games: Review and Giveaway

Before the boy was born, I was certain he wouldn’t watch TV, that I would never ever ever plop him in front of the TV so I could have a few minutes of peace. I should have known better than to say never. Like all kids, the boy loves TV, and sometimes if the hubs isn’t home yet and I need to start dinner, or if we need to clean the house, the TV is an easy solution, perhaps not the best solution, but it works.

Similarly, I was adamant that I didn’t want my little boy playing video games. My nephews love video games a lot and it’s made me a little biased, I just don’t want my boy addicted to electronic devices; I want him to use his brain, to imagine, to play and to explore. That being said, I recognize there is a difference between playing a video game with guns and violence and playing a game that is focused on learning, perhaps colours, shapes or matching. The latter is a little bit more my speed.

I was given the opportunity to test out ZOODLES, a web browser, that allows your child to play age appropriate, educational games. They have a huge directory of games that allows you to browse by age, grade, subject or branded character. Although the boy is still a bit young, we tested out some of the Toddler games, and I’m sure that in no time flat he will be all over the Ni Hao Kai Lan Games.

What’s great about Zoodles is that it appeals to my need to ensure that IF my boy is going to play video games, the games need to be violence-free and age appropriate. Zoodles provides a suite of Parental Features including the ability to set time limits on the amount of time each of your children use the program, block advertisements or specific games and promote specific subjects or games.  Check out the video below for more information on the Parent Dashboard.

In an effort to keep the parents informed, Zoodles sends a weekly email letting you know which games your child has played and what learning competencies those games develop. Although the browser itself is free for download, the parental features are provided via a Premium Membership, which can be purchased in one month, six month or annual increments.  All Zoodles downloads include a free trial of the Premium Membership so you have the opportunity to test it out and decide if the program is a good fit for your family.

Overall, I found Zoodles simple to download and install and very easy to use. I did find that upon logging in, the games themselves were a little slow to load, especially given they are very basic games, but at least instead of the boring little hourglass there was a cute little icon drawing small flowers, boats and other kid-friendly icons to distract the boy while we waited. The games were easy to figure out and the games we tested seemed age appropriate for Toddlers.  I suspect that as the boys hand eye coordination develops, Zoodles will definitely provide hours of fun for the boy while giving me peace of mind that he can’t get into any trouble.

With such a plethora of games in one easily accessible place and easy to use parental controls, Zoodles is sure to satisfy the needs of both the adults and children in your household.  A great program, I rate Zoodles a 4.5/5.

Want to try Zoodles out for yourself? Download your own copy of Zoodles OR enter our giveaway for a FREE 3 month Premium Membership below!

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3 Month Premium Membership from Zoodles

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Congratulations to our winner comment #5 Shairbearg