Archive for June, 2012

Schedule…? What schedule?

I look at all of those “sample schedules” on the baby websites and in my books, and I feel so jealous. Somehow they manage to feed the baby only once every 3-4 hours, get in 3 naps a day, each nearly 2 hours long, so they can cook and take care of the house. And their babies go to bed sometime between 6-8pm, so they have some time to themselves. HOW do they do that?!?! Compared to these crisp, clean schedules, my day looks more like molasses dripping from a bowel onto the countertop. As evening approaches, the molasses is spreading itself all over the place and starting to drip onto the floor. ugh.

Most of our days start off well, but quickly turn into a never-ending cycle of nursing and burping. And if I try to get her to take naps, it’s even more difficult. I know the answer to my problems is to get out of the house more, as my mom keeps telling me. (and she should know, having raised 6 of us!). But somehow I just find it so hard to implement.

I will figure it out though. After all, my sanity is at stake here! Well, if you assume I ever had any, that is.


So my resolution for this week is to get out of the house EVERY day before noon.  Ideally, to get out of the house twice a day, but I don’t want to push it too much.  😉

Olivia Reads a Book

Hmm, what an interesting book.

Why are you watching me read, Mommy?

Moving on…

Mom, there’s another baby in there!

I forgot this part of the story, I better go back and re-read it.



Chicken, Apples and Leeks – the German Pizza Experience

Today I had planned to make my usual rounds to our neighborhood butcher, baker, and produce stand while taking a walk with Olivia. Our morning started out just fine, and we got lots of stuff done.  We got back at around 2pm, giving us plenty of time.

Or so I thought.

After nursing Olivia I couldn’t get her to burp. And from there things descended into belly pains, and after some time she was all out screaming. I couldn’t hold her in any position except for tummy down on my arm (the classic “colic carry”). This went on for two full hours.  Strike all plans for dinner… There was just no chance.  So I decided to order pizza.

Now, I’ve been living in Germany for six years, and the weirdness of their pizzas is nothing new to me. I’ve seen everything from cauliflower to potatoes on Pizzas, and no one even thinks it’s strange. In Paderborn, where we used to live, eggs sunny-side-up was very popular on pizzas. (It’s actually really good, and I ordered that a lot). But today I ordered a pizza that is strange even by German standards. It was called “Pizza Take That” from  “Hallo Pizza Karlsruhe“, and had curry chicken, leeks, bacon chunks, Parmesan cheese, apple slices and almonds! And to top it all off, the cheese was Gouda, not some cheapo “pizza cheese”.  It was one of the best delivery pizzas I have ever eaten.

Pizza "Taste That"

Pizza “Taste That”

But there is something I’ve stumbled upon since moving to Karlsruhe that is even stranger yet.  At first I thought it was just the restaurant in my nieghborhood, Bombay Palace / Pizza Weiherhof which is an Indian restaurant and Italian Pizza place in one. (they have two names, but only one building, one telephone number, and their menu has the Indian food on one side, and pizzas on the other.)  And then I noticed that they ALSO sell Mexican food ( it runs under the pizza side of the business).  Well, OK.  maybe it’s a good business model for them, and I suppose that Naan bread could probably make a good pizza bread too.  But then we started getting ads for more delivery places in the mail:

Wok Man Menu

Wok Man Chinese and Italian Delivery Service. Say what?

Pizza Point Menu

Pizza-Point – at first glance it seems like they just sell pizzas. So far so good.

Pizza Point Inside the Menu

But wait… what’s this I find on the inside of the Pizza Point menu…? American style burgers and “fingerfood”? Chicken Wings? Chicken Strips? Huh?

Pizza Turbo Menu

But the best is yet to come… Pizza Turbo… looks innocent enough…

Pizza Turbo Menu Inside

But inside the Pizza Turbo menu… after all the pizza… “Gyros”, “Indian Specialties”, “Mexican Specialties”. That’s four different countries! My eyes are hurting.

By the time my Pizza comes, Olivia is feeling a bit better; enough to sit on my lap, but not enough to be put down. So I hold her with one arm, and try eating with the other. But it is sooo hard to cut pizza with only one hand. After about three bites I realize what an idiot I am. Why the heck am I using a fork and knife?! I’m American! We eat pizzas with our hands! (like, duh!) Astounded at how quickly I’ve begun to lose my heritage, I quickly pick up the pizza and stuff my face with it.  Ahhh… Now that’s better.

A Day in the life of EC-ing a 4-month-old

Since I know that most people find it difficult to picture what it’s like to practice EC full time, I’ve decided to record everything we do, including all of the pottying. So this was our day yesterday, with absolutely nothing held back. I used a back-up diaper the entire day, but still made tons of catches (about 80%).

In case you’re wondering, I recorded all of this on my ipad while breastfeeding. And since Olivia eats constantly, I was able to just store up the times of things in my head, and write them down when I got the chance.

Also, this is not really a “typical” day… We have no set schedule, and every day is totally different for us, aside from the fact that they are all incredibly difficult. Usually Olivia sleeps later than this.

So here goes nothing!

7:15 woke up
7:20 nursed (one side)
7:40 potty (this is when all the morning poos come, so it takes a few minutes…)
7:50nursed (other side)
8:00 Potty
8:10 Oscar played with Olivia for a few minutes, then some tummy time
8:15 potty (she did her special “scream” to let me know)
8:20 changed Olivia ino her daytime clothes
8:35 attempted to cut her fingernails, but no luck. Then she did her potty yelp again.
8:37 potty (her diaper was still dry, and she had a LOT of pee!!
8:40 tried to put Olivia down to nap (rocking and lullibies). But she arched her back and screamed.
8:50 nursed (she mostly just used it for comfort though, and fell into a light sleep.)
9:05 transferred Olivia to crib
9:10 transfer complete, she is asleep. I rush off to make myself breakfast.
9:13 the people renovating the apartment below us turn on a loud electric grinder, and I rush back to try to keep Olivia from fully waking up by shaking her crib. It doesn’t work, and now she has re-discovered her beloved mobile for the millionth time, and is grinning happily at it. I try to get her to sleep again without picking her up, but no luck.
9:20 I leave Olivia with her mobile and go eat breakfast since she seems to be happy.
9:30 Olivia is getting a little fussy
9:33 fussiness increasing
9:35 I hear yelps and so I go to her – I guess she had been trying to warn me, but now it was too late, and her diaper was wet.
9:38 I take her potty, she lets go a little more pee and a MASSIVE poo.
9:40 I try rocking her back to sleep but she arches her back and screams. It’s the famous “I have to burp” arch. The people downstairs start hammering. So I give up the nap and put her on her tummy on the floor while I eat.
9:43 she burps!
9:45 she burps again!
9:52 she makes the potty yelp but I guess it wasn’t really, since she refused to go when I took her.
9:53 I put her back on the floor, but now she is getting fussy. She’s yawning.
9:55 I try putting her to bed again. But she’s overtired now and going hyper. I leave her while I clean up a bit.
10:05 she is full on crying now, and smacking her lips, so I nurse her. Her mouth turns to a huge grin,she clamps on as if she had been waiting for years for this moment rather than just an hour. Her eyes roll backwards into her head. The people downstairs are busy slamming doors, but she doesn’t care… She is in a state of pure bliss.
10:15 I feel her stiffen to pee while nursing, but she doesn’t want to stop and I don’t make her. I would rather have her make that choice.
10:17 she starts kicking her legs around. Now she REALLY has to pee. Suddenly she pulls off the breast and looks at me with a quizzical expression. “do you have to go potty…?” I ask, then I rush her to the potty (after pulling off two layers of clothes and a diaper, which was still dry) she immediately does a full load of pee, and one minute later a rather large poo as well.
10:22 returned to nursing
10:27 she starts choking due to the flood of milk. I clap her back and she burps a huge and quite painful sounding burp. Poor thing! Then she smiles and starts “singing” to me.
10:29 returned to nursing
10:40 nursing slows down but I let her comfort nurse since she didn’t nap.
10:50 she’s asleep, so I burp her (magically she didn’t wake up!) and transfer her to the crib.
10:55 I rush off to do the dishes from last night
11:20 Olivia is still sleeping, so I decide to risk it and jump in the shower (with the baby monitor in the bathroom)
11:27 …and… I lose. She’s up! I hurry up and finish while she cries and then go to her.
11:30 I’ve missed the wake up pee, so I change her diaper. I try to give her a pottytunity but she doesn’t think much of that and lets me know it. So I let her play on the bed while I get dressed.
11:40 I play with her on the floor of the living room for 5 minutes, then let her play by herself why I dry my hair and get ready.
12:00 she is getting fussy, so I take her potty, which she refuses. She had a small pre-pee and some poo skid marks in her diaper, so I know she has to go, but she wants somthing else first. She is probably hungry but I try to delay that a bit by turning on a CD of kids’ songs and start folding laundry.
12:18 since she’s calm now I try the potty again, and she goes pee immediately. Her diaper was still dry, so I guess she can hold it longer than I gave her credit for (almost an hour!)
12:20 I lay her back on the floor and start hanging up wet laundry.
12:35 nursed
13:18 potty (she signalled by stopping nursing, and it turned out she had already peed, but she did a poo in the toilet.)
13:20 I put Olivia on the floor and wander around aimlessly, trying to remember what it was I wanted to do
13:30 I eat lunch (that was it!). Olivia entertains herself by looking at the couch and babbling.
13:40 I clean up lunch and try to decide how to get out of the house while packing Olivia’s stuff.
13:50 one last pottytunity
14:00-17:30 we take the tram downtown and wander around.  I potty her at 15:30 at the library, and then nurse her, and potty her again at about 16:00 at a downtown shopping center. She kept her diaper dry the entire time! She also slept for about a half-hour in the carrier.

17:30 we arrive home and she goes potty again (diaper still dry…)
17:35 I start dinner while Olivia stares at the photo of a baby on the diaper box and exercises her lungs
17:55 Nursed
18:05 Olivia is thrashing around and not really drinking, which is a sure sign of a burp. But I can’t get her to burp so I try the potty. But she tells me in no uncertain terms that potty is NOT what she wants. Must be a burp after all. So I keep trying.
18:18 shefinally burps, and I try nursing her again. But she starts arching her back and screaming. So I try the potty, and she does a poo and pee.
18:23 I try nursing her again but she still screams and thrashes around, so I assume there is another burp trapped. I work at trying to get that one out.
18:40 I give up and put her on the floor while I put away clean dishes and finish dinner.
18:55 she is extremely fussy so I try nursing, which she flat out refuses, and I go back to trying to burp her.
19:10 I give up burping her again and put her down so I can eat dinner. She screams at the top of her lungs on the floor, so I pick her up and let her sit on my lap while I eat. I also try taking her potty since it’s been along time. But she still refuses. (she did have a pee in the diaper though)
19:30 Olivia burps while sitting on my lap. Yay!
19:35 I clean up my mess and pick up some of the trail of items I’ve left lying all over the house, while holding Olivia in one arm.
19:45 I try nursing her again, but she thrashes around. So I try burping her more.
19:55 Oscar comes home! He holds Olivia for a bit.
20:05 even though she still has’t burped, she seems ready to eat now,so I nurse her while Oscar eats dinner.
20:30 Oscar wakes me up… Appearantly I nodded off while breastfeeding…Olivia is asleep too, so Oscar takes her for awhile while I get ready for bed and catch a little more sleep (I only got about 10 minutes 😦
21:00 Olivia is still hungry so I nurse her more
21:30 Olivia is asleep. I get one small burp out of her, then put her to bed. I go clean up dinner and put away food
22:00 I finally get to go to sleep! Yay!!

Olivia slept well overnight, waking up at 1:15 and 3:30am, and then she was up for the day at 7:15 (that is the only consistant part of our day…)

Sleep Woes

I have been having so much trouble with getting Olivia to sleep.  Once she is asleep, she does fantastic, only waking up once or twice at night, and I know that she is hungry when she wakes, so it’s ok for me.  But *putting* her to sleep has been like roasting myself on a spit over a fire.

When she was younger, Olivia had colic every night, so we had to carry her around on her tummy for 1-2 hours every evening while she cried.  If we held her any other way she would scream and stiffen her entire body as straight as a board.  We felt so bad for her, it almost made us cry just to watch her have to go through that.  It was a tough phase, and lasted for about 2 months, but we learned how to deal with it and how to minimize her pain.  Still, we rarely got to bed before 1 in the morning.

Even now that colic is over, she still has a lot of problems burping, and that seems to be the root of all the problems.  If she doesn’t burp out ALL of the trapped air, she simply can’t go to sleep.   I have been working on this problem, spending more and more time burping her, and trying lots of different methods.  But it often takes me 30-45 minutes to get those burps out, by which time she is seriously overtired and it becomes even harder to put her to bed.  Picture me holding poor Olivia in one position, patting her, turning her over, patting her more, rubbing her back, setting her on the floor tummy down,  then picking her up again, more patting… repeat, repeat repeat for half an hour.  You can’t do anything else during that time, and it is seriously boring.    And even if I do get a burp, there’s no way to tell if there are more buried in there or not.  I can only tell after spending more than a half-hour trying to rock her to sleep, only to find that once in the bed she is still in pain.

But… is it pain?  or is it just her being fussy for no reason?  Or is it a potty alert?  It’s so hard to tell, and I spend all my time doubting myself.  I try letting her settle down in the crib by singing or patting her, or rubbing her tummy.  Or I try just letting her calm herself down  (that actually worked once, but normally it doesn’t.)  After some time it becomes clear that she is uncomfortable, so I try offering the potty.  Often she will go in the potty, making me think that was the answer.  But then we come right back to the same problems as before, and I finally decide that she still has some trapped burps, so up she comes again to be burped.  By this point an hour or more may have passed, and sometimes she is already hungry again.  And with eating come even more burps.  ArrrrggghH!!!!

Can you see how this can drive a person up the wall?!

Olivia really is a very good baby – she hardly cries, and in fact she really is very easy-going, especially in the mornings.  In the mornings I can leave her for quite a long time on the floor and she will entertain herself while I take a shower, eat and get ready for the day.  She definitely isn’t spoiled.  But having tummy pains is no fun, and I can understand why she won’t sleep when she has them.  And it is really starting to take it’s toll on me.  If we’ve had a lot of burping troubles in a given day, I have been known to snap at her by the time bedtime rolls around.   I always feel terrible afterwards!! And I am a fairly patient person, too.  I can’t imagine what this would be like if I weren’t.

Diaper Free – Update Weeks 18 & 19

Well, I didn’t quite stick to my goal of diaper-free during the daytime.  I did it for 3 days, (morning to night) but then I got lazy again and went back to using the diaper most of the time.  However, those three days really made a HUGE difference.    She had been basically ignoring the pees before, so it took us about 2 days to get that back on track, during which I used a whole mountain of flats, and all of her pairs of underwear.  But after that she started signaling for almost all the pees, and she has begun to consolidate them as well!  Instead of doing a bunch of small pees one after another, she has been waiting longer and doing bigger pees.  It is so much easier now, and it makes me feel like I really CAN do this without getting burnt out.

Diaper Free Playtime

For playtime I use a water proof cloth with a flat diaper on top, and Olivia is in regular underwear. (I often add pants over that, too, but this day I didn’t)


I have been learning her new rhythm as well.  I now know that she does most of her small pees in the first 2-3 hours of the morning.  At that time they are coming about every 15 minutes or even quicker.  After that they slow way down to every half-hour and sometimes a full hour.  Also there is a huge difference when I am holding her. We go for nice long walks most days, and I have been carrying her in a wrap.  Sometimes the walks are more than 2 hours long.  We usually go walking in the woods, and I warned my walking buddy that we were going to have to stop for pees every once in a while.  Except that she really didn’t signal at all for more than an hour.  I finally thought, OK, she must need to go by now, so I’m gonna give her a pottytunity.  But she didn’t take it.  Even after stopping to feed her, she STILL didn’t want to go.  She actually saved everything up until we got home, two hours later.  Since then I haven’t bothered taking her out of the wrap at all during walks, unless she tells me clearly that she needs to go.  So far she hasn’t, and her diaper has always been dry when we get home.  Amazing!!

The interesting thing is even though I am back to using diapers nearly full time, we are having a much higher rate of catches since we did the big diaper-free marathon.  We are much better in tune with each other, and as long as I am completely ignoring her I really do catch about 80% of her pees and poos.  I still am going through about 15 diapers a day, but most of the time I only change it because of a very small pee.  She really has a dry bum most of the time, and I am treating the diaper more like a piece of clothing than a toilet.

We did have one HUGE poop blowout this week which I missed because I was starving and couldn’t take my mind off my lunch.  She was sitting on my knee and wiggling around, making yelling noises, and trying to get my attention, but I was so focused on my spaghetti that I didn’t even notice.  Well suddenly I heard the “tururururooop”  of a big poo, and I just looked at her and laughed, “did you do a poo poo?! oh no!  I’m so sorry!!!”  She had this kind of funny look on her face, a combination of relief and mortification.  Well, I rushed her to the changing table, only to find that the poo had shot all the way up her back, right up to her *neck*!  It had soaked through the onesie and stained her beautiful white  Mexican dress.  It took me 15 minutes to clean her up, and another half-hour soaking the clothes to remove the stains.  This is only the second time this has happened since Olivia was born, since we catch almost all of her poos.  And since she does somthing like 8 poos a day, it really makes me glad that I spend the 2 minutes it takes to get her to the toilet, rather than go through this huge clean-up!!

Diaper Free – Update Week 17

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but we are raising our daughter diaper free, using elimination communication (EC). If you don’t know what EC is, here is a great blog about it:

We started EC with our daughter at 2 weeks old, by holding her over a tupperware container everytime we changed her diaper. She peed so often back then that I just couldn’t wrap my head around going all out diaper free. Well, that and it was February and freezing cold, and we had recieved tons of onesies and footed PJ’s as gifts, which are super hard to EC in. (if she wets, you have to change her from head to toe, instead of just pulling off the pants.). We did make lots of catches though, and almost from day one we were catching all her poos, which is about 8-10 times a day. I guess she was saving them up for the opportunity to do it in the potty. In any case that was very motivating, and it really wasn’t too hard, so we kept it up, and it slowly evolved into more and more diaper free time. We became more and more in tuned with each other- us recognizing her signals better, and her becoming clearer and clearer about her signals.

Now Olivia is 4 months old, and her signals have evolved quite a bit. She was doing a certain scream right before she peed, and fussing a lot before poos. I’m not always paying attention though, and so I miss a lot of pees since they are more subtle. We were at a point where I was using the same diaper for 3 or 4hours in the afternoons, because I caught all of her pees! I go mostly based on her signals, but I also take her at certain times – right after waking up, and right after she eats.

This was working great for the past few months, but I have been incredibly lazy about the diaper, and have been relying on it way too much. And as embarressed as I feel to say this, we are still using disposables, because they are easier. I feel so awful at the thought of all those chemical filled diapers ending up in the garbage dump. So this week I made a commitment to myself to have her in underwear more often and reserve the diapers only for outings and nights.

For the past 2 months we have mostly been using the sink and the big toilet. We stopped using the tupperware since our arms were wearing out and she is getting so big. I still use it as a car potty though. (I hold it between my legs and sit her on my lap. It works great since it has a lid in case you can’t dump it right away)

From here on, I plan to do a weekly update on our EC experience. I hope that this is helpful for anyone else on the same journey, or maybe to shed some light onto it for those of you who’ve never heard of it.


Sleep Update

Olivia sleepingJust want to give a quick update – we had a great night last night!  We still don’t know what caused the troubles 2 nights ago, but last night went very smoothly.  She took a long time to get to sleep, but there was very little crying involved, and once she was asleep she stayed asleep the whole night!  She went to bed around 10:30pm, and woke up at 6:30am.  After feeding her I put her back to bed, and she has slept another 2.5 hours.)  Fantastic!

Babies really are SO unpredictable…

A late night

Crazy.  I don’t even know where to begin.  But maybe it will mean somthing to you when I say that after Olivia finally fell asleep around 1am this morning, she slept for 6 hours solid, woke up quickly to eat, and has been sleeping ever since.  It is now almost 10:30 in the morning, and I’ve spent about 2 hours whittling away at my pile of paperwork doom.  She is exhausted!

She actually had a really good day for naps yesterday… one of the best we’ve had since weeks.  She was also tired extra early, and we very nearly got her to bed by 8:30, since she was yawning and seemed completely ready.  She normally won’t sleep until 10pm, so I was pretty happy and was already about to claim victory and blow my horn about how important good napping is for good nighttime sleep.

All I can say is, too soon.

She didn’t fall asleep at 8:30, instead she seemed to still be hungry, so I fed her again.  Then should couldn’t burp, so we spent a good long time trying to burp her.  We had been waiting all this time to eat dinner, and my stomach was starting to eat itself from the inside out, so Oscar rocked Olivia while I quickly devoured my half of the Schweinebraten and Schumpfnudeln which had been waiting for nearly 3 hours.  Around 9:45 Olivia seemed to be getting more and more awake, and instead of going away, the tummy pains seemed to be getting worse.  We tried the warm cherry-seed bag which had helped us so much back when she had colic.  It didn’t seem to help at all.  Her cries were getting louder and louder.

We tried a bunch of times to lay her in her crib, but she just screamed out as if in pain.  This isn’t normal for her at all so we kept picking her up again and comforting her.  Eventually she couldn’t even be comforted through holding her.  I finally decided that maybe she was still hungry. I felt her tummy and it was pretty flat… normally by the end of the night she has a little potbelly.  I figured it must be empty.   She nursed a little bit, and I could see that Oscar was very upset, even in the dark… “if it was hunger all along, why did you just make her go through all this pain?”  He didn’t actually say it, but I could feel him thinking it.  I felt terrible.  And yet, I don’t know anything about babies either.  I am totally stabbing in the dark, too.

It wasn’t hunger.  After about 5 minutes of lackluster nursing, she started crying again.  By this point it was nearly midnight.  We went back to carrying her around and trying to make her feel better.  It just kept getting worse.  She was making ear-piercing screams.

Oscar suddenly asked me… what if she’s getting teeth?  My heartbeat went into overdrive.  Why didn’t we think of that before?  I had paracetamol in the fridge just for this occasion.  We gave her that, and then I nursed her some more to calm her down, and she went right to sleep.  She woke up one last time at 12:45, and the second I picked her up she was asleep on my shoulder.  After that she was out like a log.

Poor girl is still asleep.  I wonder if it really is a tooth… I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

My super hard-working husband

Oscar has been quite industrious lately, which is amazing, and I feel pretty bad watching him while I just sit on the couch breastfeeding all day.  I know that’s an important job, too, and blah blah.  But I still do feel like I’m somehow being lazy since I can’t get most of the “regular” stuff done around the house.

My pile of stuff to be done gets larger every day, and I don’t even know everything that’s even *in* that pile, let alone when it is due or when I will ever get to most of it.  When you put a paper into one of my “to do” piles, you may as well just forget it ever existed.

To help us out with this we tried using one of those “open issue lists” which Oscar adapted from work.  I know it’s super nerdy and way overkill, but with all the “stuff” floating around in our lives, we figured we needed drastic measures.  That, and we are kind of nerdy people.  Unfortunately, like most such things, the list rarely gets updated.  Come to think of it, that is just like our projects at work, too.  The only time the open issues lists ever get updated is when the project leader calls a meeting.  And even that wouldn’t happen if he didn’t have to update the status whenever a “project milestone” is coming up.  Kinda reminds me of how everyone does thier homework last minute before class.

But anyways, back to Oscar and his industriousness.  He actually went through a bunch of those huge “to-do” piles, throwing away tons of old papers and closing up a lot of stuff that was still “open”.  He got rid of several piles of boxes that were leftover from the move, and he also cleaned the entire house, including MOPPING THE FLOOR, and put together 3 pieces of furnature for the bathroom.   I think he also did some stuff with the cars and moved things around in the garage, but I was so absorbed with Olivia that I’m not even sure of everything that he did.


Oscar holding Olivia in the rocking chair

And he does it all with a smile on his face

On top of all of that, (as if it wasn’t already enough!) he helped me out a bunch with Olivia; playing with her, burping her, rocking her to sleep… What on earth was I doing with all that precious time he was giving me?  I’m not even sure.  Probably wasting it.  Time seems to slip away from me more than ever now.

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