I started this post over three months ago and never finished it...
January 29, 2013
I returned to work from my maternity leave last week and we started the kids at a new daycare last week and schools were closed on my first day back to work, which also meant Gavin didn't have preschool and it just plain messed things up!
We've started work on finishing our basement. Our basement has been unfinished since we built our house five and half years ago, but the plan was always to finish it within five years, so we're not too far off track. We always planned to have two additional bedrooms down there, since we only have two bedrooms on our main floor now. It will be nice to have a bedroom for Addison who is still in our room and probably will be for a little while, and it will be awesome to have a guest bedroom again since we haven't had one since Gavin was born. Our friend Colin came over last weekend to help Cliff start framing, Cory came over just this past weekend to talk Cliff through the plan for the electrical work and give him some pointers, and our friend Jeremy came over today to help finish up the framing. We had a sheetrock installer come this weekend to measure and get us a quote on sheetrock and he's planning to get started this coming weekend on installing, so Cliff has a lot of electrical work to finish up an we've got the plumbing and heating to complete this week as well, but we're relying on the experts for that part.
Now it's May 15th and I'll finish it off, updating you on how both items are going!
May 15, 2013
I've been back at work now for four months. Addison will be six months old next week! She is a sweet and smiley stubborn little stinker! More to come on that in her six month update! Daycare has been a challenge to say the least. The daycare we chose is a place we feel comfortable, the teachers are caring and genuine and the environment is safe. The director has really partnered with us to try to overcome some of the battles we're facing and the staff have all been on-board with trying whatever tactics we can come up with.
Addison pretty much refuses to drink from a bottle, and just when we thought we had this partly resolved by the fact that she was happily eating infant rice cereal, she quit eating that too! She is picky and she's stubborn. She wants Momma and that is it. There is no changing her mind. She took a bottle okay for a little while and then just in time for me to go back to work, she just decided she didn't want to drink from a bottle anymore. For awhile she was flat out screaming when a bottle came near her. Mind you, it is my own milk we're offering her. We tried everything from warming it up more ...to trying four different types of bottles and nipples ...to having someone other than me feed her ...to holding her away from us or in a bouncy seat or swing to take the bottle ...to holding her as if we were nursing her ...to starting to nurse her and then sneaking the bottle in ...to giving someone else something of mine to hold near her so that she smells me when she takes the bottle ...to trying it both when she was starving and when she was not hungry. NOTHING worked. There were a couple of times that someone (including me) was able to get her to drink 3 or 4 ounces, but those were very rare occasions and this has been going on for four months. Now, we can often get her to accept a 1/2 ounce to an ounce by bottle, but that is about it. Some days she refuses it altogether. A lot of people have a lot of advice on this and I feel pretty confident at this point saying we've tried it all. Some will say that if she's hungry enough, she'll take it. That may be the case. However, I don't want her to be miserable and hungry so I'm choosing not to starve her in order to force her to take a bottle. I still plan on breastfeeding her when I am not at work, so we're making things work for us right now. It means that I make sure I feed her well before I come to work in the morning and that I leave work at lunch time to go over to daycare to feed her again then. It's not easy, but it's also not quite as big of a concern now that she's ready to start eating some more "solid" foods (i.e. baby rice cereal and stage 1 baby food).
When I was at my wit's end, I decided to try some baby rice cereal just so that I could get something in her when I couldn't be there to feed her. She did great! ...for a week and a half. Then she decided she was done with cereal and would clamp her mouth shut and turn her head whenever the spoon came near her. Ugh! I tried mixing in a little applesauce and she screamed. Okay, baby girl. You win.
Last week I bought some of the stage 1 baby foods just to see if she'd accept something. I started with the banana baby food. She ate it. I tried mashing up a slice of a fresh banana and giving her that and she loved it. In the last week she has had a tiny bit of banana every day and a little bit of avocado. At daycare yesterday, they tried mixing some rice cereal into the banana and she refused it. Go figure. Next week we will try something new - probably pears and maybe sweet potato.
To add to all of this frustration with feeding, I learned a couple of months ago that my milk has a high level of the enzyme Lipase, which gives expressed milk a plastic-y or metallic taste, although it is completely safe and unspoiled. The Lipase increases as the milk cools down, so it smells and tastes normal when breastfeeding and when it is first extracted, but once it is cooled to room temperature, refrigerated, or frozen, the smell and taste of what I describe as 'hot plastic' becomes more potent. The longer the milk is in the freezer, the more potent the Lipase. The only possible solution for this issue is to carefully scald the expressed milk over a hot stove immediately after expressing it and before it begins to cool down. Once scalded, you can refridgerate or freeze as necessary. So far, this has worked for me, but it's a royal pain because this isn't something I can do at work or while out and about. This is another reason I opt to go to daycare at noon to feed her rather than pump at work, since I can't scald the milk at work.
(For quick answers to common breastfeeding questions, review the Le Leche League International (LLLI) Breastfeeding Answer Book.
...and that's just Addison's story. Gavin has his own, but I'll fill you in on his daycare woes in another post.
I DID promise you an update on the basement too, didn't I? Well, the basement is pretty much done. Cliff put in a LOT of hours of hard work to complete it and it is beautiful. It definitely has his touch, which is what he wanted. When we built the house he always said "I get the basement", so he took the lead on the design, although it certainly has my influence. There were a few things that I had to say "no way!" to, but you'd never guess it. There is still a big dead fish hanging down there, some duck taxidermy, a bar, and far too many wildlife prints (artwork) for my taste, but it looks nice. Just masculine. It could use a little bit of a soft touch and in time, I'll give it that. For now, it's a really handsome looking man cave complete with a big TV and an ugly old leather recliner. I'll share pictures soon!