Monday, April 30, 2012

Avery's Bucket List

This morning on Twitter a post from CTV News caught my eye. It was about a baby bucket list.

A little girl named Avery Lynn Canahuati from Texas is diagnosed with an incurable disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Avery's parents have started a blog (written from Avery's point of view) about her bucket list - all the things she would like to do/has done in her life.

On her blog, she writes, "I have already lost the ability to move my legs and eventually I will lose the ability to move my arms and my head.  When that happens it will be difficult and eventually impossible for my body to pump air through my lungs which is why most babies, like me, who are diagnosed with SMA type 1 have a life expectancy of less than two years of age."

I believe Avery and her parents have extraordinary courage and are being extremely positive people by using their heartbreaking situation to inform others. One of her bucket list goals is to raise $1,000,000 towards finding a cure for SMA.

You can learn more about Avery and SMA at:

Avery's Blog -
Avery's Twitter -
Avery's Facebook -

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hannah's Pick of the Month - Infantino Peek-a-Boo Rattle

Since I've wrote about some of my favourite items, I think it's only fair I dedicate one post a month to something Hannah really loves.

This month it's her Bug.  It's commercial name is Infantino Peek-a-Boo Rattle. We never leave home without it.

She loves to just stare at it. She also likes to grab it and hold it. And it's even the first toy she put in her mouth! It entertains her for minutes on end. It also has a neat ring/clip-on thing so I can hang it off her stroller or car seat and it keeps her entertained - the different patterns make it interesting to look at, she smiles at it so much. It's been great to have when we are out and about, and it passed the ultimate test - while in the car she started to cry, I reached around to give her the Bug and she instantly calmed down! Nothing else I've come across yet has been able to do that. It's pretty amazing that when she cries just showing her the Bug or shaking it (as it is a rattle) soothes her.

At first I thought it was a pretty ugly toy when she got it as one of her Easter gifts from my Mom (I also found it slightly creepy that the head moves up to show a mirror, hence the "Peek-a-Boo" name). But now I'm so happy and very thankful to have it. For a toy that's so small and doesn't require batteries, it truly is amazing.

The Infantino Peek-A-Boo Rattle retails for $6.99 at Babies R Us.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Migraine Mommy = Colicky Baby?

The thing I miss most about being pregnant is lack of migraines.

I started suffering migraines in 2010. They came on quite suddenly, and the two neurologists I've seen have no idea why I have the neurological deficits I do. (My face, right arm and right leg often go numb in addition to a 12 hour headache, feeling dizzy and having nausea).

Because migraines are genetic, I was and continue to be very worried that I could pass them on to my daughter. It also doesn't help that her father had migraines when he was a child.

However a new study presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting this week gives me a little hope that Hannah might not suffer migraines like her parents.

The general findings from the report done by the Headache Center at the University of California, San Francisco according to an article from Medical News Today:

"The researchers looked at more than 150 mothers and their babies, and colic was reported by questions the scientists developed - using standard criteria for identifying colic. Twenty nine percent of infants had colic when mothers had a history of migraines, whereas only eleven percent of babies had colic when their mothers didn't have migraines."

Thankfully Hannah does not have colic. However, I didn't have colic as a baby either, so perhaps Hannah will still be like me and suffer from migraines when she's older. Regardless, I'm still glad she's made it through the first potential sign with no indication that she will.

My Banana is Three Months Old!

Three months ago today I was high on (medical) drugs, then high on love. My little Hannah Banana had finally joined us.

Since bringing her home from the hospital, the last 13 weeks have been a blur. 

The first week was definitely the worst. Not only was I recovering from an emergency c-section, my milk wasn't coming in properly and it seemed like anytime Hannah was awake she was balling her eyes out. As parents, Chris and I felt horrible because we had no idea what she wanted us to do for her. 

Now Hannah still cries, but it's mostly for two reasons - either she's hungry or she's overtired. Now we can solve what's bugging her a lot quicker and she's obviously a lot happier because of it. And a happy baby makes for happy parents.

I can't believe she's already three months old. And I can't wait for the months and years to come!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Baby's First Fish

There were two gifts on Hannah's registry that were really meant for me. As much as I am all about her being her own person with her own likes and dislikes, I'd at least like to give her opportunities to enjoy what I do.

I really like fish. Like REALLY like them. When I was younger, my dream job was to be a marine biologist or, you know, work at SeaWorld. When I realized you needed to have good marks in science and math, those dreams removed themselves in high school. My marks in those classes just wouldn't cut it (I took Grade 12 Advanced Math TWICE in order to see if I could pass an OAC Math class - no dice).

Anyhow, the two gifts I wanted for mysel- er, Hannah, were the Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym and the FisherPrice Ocean Wonders Aquarium.

We purchased the Baby Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym for Hannah before she was born with gift cards we received at our coed baby shower. It comes with an "electric water-filled toy" that was almost a small version of the Ocean Wonders Aquarium.

Hannah likes the Gym, and as she gets older I'm sure she'll take advantage of all the different toys it has to offer.

As for the Aquarium I would hmm and ha every time I saw it in the stores. I even showed it to her once and she seemed pretty interested but I just didn't know if I should buy something somewhat similar to what she already had in the "electric water-filled toy".

Then a couple of weeks ago Chris' parents threw Hannah a family shower. And one of her presents WAS the Ocean Wonders Aquarium. When we were setting it up in her crib, I think Chris and I were more impressed than she was. OK. I definitely was more impressed. It plays five songs, has three white noise settings, the fish move, there are bubbles and lights. Once Hannah realized what it could do, she will stare at it and coo at it for a good 20 minutes. Which is amazing, 20 minutes for any parent, knowing their baby is entertained and happy, is priceless. Later on, if it helps the baby go to sleep, the Aquarium also has a remote so you can turn it off without entering the room and disturbing their sleep.

So don't hmm and ha like I did - if you want to buy this toy it's totally worth it!

The Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Adventure Gym retails for $99.99 at Toys R Us (we got it on sale for $60) and the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium retails for $44.99 at Sears.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Glo Worm 2.0

When I found out I was pregnant, a small part of me looked forward to playing with all the cool, new toys that are out there. It's amazing what a few decades can do to the toy industry and how advanced some toys have become.

Case in point - Playskool's Glo Worm.

Here is the one I had as a child, who served as my nightlight:

Here is what my Mom bought Hannah:

Other than the photographic evidence of clear differences, the only "whistle" my Glo Worm had was that his face lit up WHILE you were squeezing him.

In addition to a glowing face, Hannah's "Gloworld Sensory Glo Worm" plays an assortment of songs - some meant for daytime (upbeat, louder) and others meant for nighttime (slower lullabies). And the songs aren't terrible! They are actually quite catchy and I will find myself humming them at random points in the day. Hannah's Glo Worm also has a setting for the face JUST to light up with no music at all. Furthermore, he has rings, a teething toy and even a crinkly flower. At first I thought the crinkly flower was a weird add on that she would never use, but she actually likes the sound and feel of it quite a bit.

Sometimes when Hannah is fussy I'll play the songs for her and she's actually soothed by the music. She also spends hours staring at her Glo Worm taking in all his fun accessories. He is often placed in the diaper bag for outings and he is as important to pack as her sleepers are for an overnight trip.

I have no idea how much my Glo Worm cost back in the day, but Hannah's retails for around $30. My Glo Worm is currently in my old toy box that's now in Hannah's bedroom. When she's a little older I'll show it to her so she can see what I had when I was her age. Hopefully if I put a battery in 80s Glo Worm he'll at the very least light up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Renewed Love for Sesame Street

Every weekday at 10 a.m. (if I'm home) I automatically turn to PBS to watch Sesame Street.

About a month ago I found it by chance and Hannah saw Elmo and got really excited. This made me really happy as Elmo has always been a favourite. Watching her watch him, my love for the furry red monster was reignited.

So now, even if Hannah is already having her morning nap, I uh, tune in anyway. Without her.

Sesame Street is amazing on so many levels. When I was little I assumed the skits and segments were written with me in mind. As an adult, I realize the skits and segments are also fashioned in a way to entertain parents and caregivers of young children. I know that many children's movies are written with adults in mind - but a lot of them only have over arching lessons and don't directly teach numbers, letters or the meaning of words. Sesame Street does all of this and more.

One day I decided to YouTube the 12 And Pinball Animation as the song was in my head, and I realized Sesame Street had uploaded a bunch of classics from my childhood. I've spent hours since looking them up and watching them. When Hannah is a little older and it becomes easier for her to focus on my MacBook I'll show her too.

For now, I'll just enjoy reading her Sesame Street books, playing with her and her stuffed Elmo, and tuning in every weekday morning at 10 so we can watch together. If she's awake.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Item No New Parent Should Live Without

Ladies, we all remember that episode of Sex and the City when new mom Miranda just can't calm Brady and finally a neighbour introduces her to a vibrating baby chair.

The vibrating baby chair should seriously be essential as a crib, stroller and perhaps even car seat. At least for a parent's sanity.

Hannah loves her FisherPrice Newborn to Toddler Rocker (retails $79.99 at Babies "R" Us). But I think Chris and I love it slightly more.

The vibrating clams her. The rocking calms her. And she loves staring at the cute little cat dangling from an arm. It also plays "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" which has averted more than one meltdown. The best part is - she LIKES to sit in it.

The Rocker is also a great place for her to take a nap when she is fussy and is fighting sleep. Sometimes Chris and I will even put her in the chair and THEN turn the stove's fan on - usually this will calm her down and allow her to nap. I like to call this "The Double Whammy" - if it doesn't work when she's irritable, nothing will.

I definitely recommend this to any other parent. Yes, depending on how much your child sits in it you may go through a lot of batteries, but it's totally and completely worth every penny.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Is It a Boy or a Girl?

As a new mom, I'm constantly checking out other babies to see how mine compares. Yes, I check out other women too - mostly for fashion reasons, but when it comes to babies I look at their strollers, toys they have been provided and how they are reacting to the same situation Hannah is in (especially if Hannah is irritable and the other babies seem fine).

More than once, I wasn't able to tell if these other babies were boys or girls. Like most people, Chris and I chose to buy gender neutral big ticket items. Hannah has a brown stroller and a green car seat. She has a brown diaper bag to go with her brown stroller. Her warmer coat is yellow. Many of her first outfits are also gender neutral as people didn't want to buy us girl clothes in case our ultrasound technician was wrong about her sex.

So I can understand why sometimes people can't tell right away if whether my baby, or ANY baby, is male or female just by looking.

A few times people have been wrong and I kindly tell them I have a daughter not a son (even when she is completely decked out in pink and has a barrette in her hair that day...). Most of these people have thanked me for being understanding and not jumping down their throats as other parents have done when they guessed incorrectly. What I take away from these encounters is that Hannah is so sweet she makes people she doesn't even know smile. And babies make people smile regardless of their sex. 

However, if said people are sick of getting in to constant hot water, perhaps just saying "What a gorgeous baby!" and leaving it at that would be better for all involved. And if one really must know, you can ask "How old is your baby?" as MOST people will respond he or she is x months old.

It's the plan I use with dogs - try to keep it neutral until the owner reveals the sex. Although dog owners seem to care a lot less about this issue than parents do.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Proud Member of the Unwed Mothers Club

The May 2012 issue of Glamour has an interesting article on divorce and how women today look at marriage and how their views can be affected by celebrities, friends and family they know who split after walking down the aisle. 

The article also mentions that 53 per cent of babies delivered by women under 30 are born out of wedlock (Source: Child Trends - 2009 data). If I lived in the United States, I would be a part of this statistic. To give you an idea of how this "trend" works, back in 1970, only 12 per cent of mothers under 30 were unwed at the time of their child's birth and in 1990 the number rose to 34 per cent.

I know quite a few other couples doing what Chris and I are - raising our baby with common law status instead of being married. On the Today show a few weeks back they also did a segment about this data, and mentioned that while their parents were not married, a larger percentage of babies born out of wedlock still had both of their parents living with them as a family unit.

I don't think Hannah cares whether or not her parents are married, at least not for now. (I won't ignore there have been reports that Brad and Angelina's army of school-age children have started to question why their dad and mom aren't married.) I'm pretty sure right now she's just happy to know there are two people who love her, feed her body and mind, and of course change her dirty diapers.

One need not look far to understand why the carriage comes before marriage more often than not these days. My parents are divorced. Many people in my extended family are divorced. And unfortunately, statistics have a few of my married friends becoming divorced in the near future too.

My thoughts about marriage have often differed depending on who I was dating at the time. I always thought that line "You'll just know" ridiculously unhelpful and quite frankly untrue. Not to get all mushy, but when I started to date Chris I DID know. It was just different. There was no drama. We fight, but there has always been this underlying honesty to our relationship. When one of us messes up, it's not to intentionally hurt the other person. It's because neither of us are perfect and we are going to make mistakes.

So when I found out I was pregnant I didn't care that there was no ring on my finger. I knew a few months in to dating Chris I wanted to marry him and start a family. I just didn't expect it would happen in this order. And I think I would be lying if I didn't mention a few of the older folks in my life wish it hadn't.

Hannah shares a last name with Chris, and it is my intention to make it my last name too some day. But I don't see a point in racing down the aisle. A piece of paper won't change the loving family we have already created for ourselves and our daughter. I already know that Chris is my husband and I am his wife - and eventually, the Government will know it too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fellow Moms - Better Than Any Baby Book

Today Hannah and I met one of my coworkers and her baby at the mall. It was SO nice to walk around with another Mom and therefore another stroller and at times, another fussy baby. 

Sometimes as a new Mom I feel "alone" - not lonely, but alone. Many of my good friends are engaged/married/planning on having kids but are not quite there yet. Most of my friends are beyond understanding and super supportive, but I don't want to a) bore them with baby stories and b) ask them for advice on things they have yet to experience.

With a fellow Mom and baby there's an instant camaraderie. Because my coworkers' baby is older she has already been a wealth of information and support. With her telling me baby stories I am gaining knowledge about milestones Hannah has yet to reach. Sometimes it's nice to hear someone else has had the same type of feelings as you and knows EXACTLY what you are going through. Plus other Moms you know give it to you straight - there's no flowering of issues which is normally what happens in books and on websites about raising a child.

In the here and now I am so grateful to know/have people who are going through the exact same ordeals. Day in, day out.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Co-sleeping vs Crib vs Bassinet

Our cat really likes to sleep with us. To the point where if we close our bedroom door he will meow insistently until the door is opened and we let him in. On occasion, in my sleep I will roll over onto his tail. And yet, he still chooses our bed to slumber.

So when it came to figuring out where our new baby would sleep her first few months of life, it was a pretty easy decision to remove co-sleeping from the mix.

That left the crib in her room or buying some sort of bassinet or cradle so she could sleep in our room, but not our bed.

Even though when she wakes up in the night and we have to change her diaper (in her room) and feed her (usually in the living room since it's close to the kitchen which houses her formula), I'm still really happy we decided on a bassinet.

That way, even when she does something as simple as roll over, if something is wrong we would know right away. Those first few weeks, especially when I'd check to make sure she was still breathing every 15 minutes (paranoid new parent much?) made it a lot easier to check on her FROM my bed versus getting up and going to her crib.

The bassinet we received as a gift for Hannah is called the Bily 2-in-1 Bassinet Bah Bah Baby. It has wheels, a canopy and a light for nighttime. Although the music it comes with is super creepy. After hours carnival while a clown is chasing you creepy.

I'm not too worried about transitioning her to her crib when she's too big for the bassinet, she already takes most of her naps in her room by herself so I hope that smooths the transition. 
Where did/will your newborn sleep?