Archive for November, 2012

Diaper Free – Months 6-9

How have the past three months of EC been going for us?  Well, in a nutshell, I would say that we have slowly but surely been getting more and more relaxed about it.  Or maybe lazy is the word I’m looking for.  No, no… relaxed is better… definitely more relaxed.  Ha.

I admit that we never really went all out with EC, since I didn’t do all that much diaper free time (or rather, the time we spent was a bit spotty… sometimes doing a lot, other times nothing at all) When we went to the family camp near Berlin, we did tons of diaper free time with lots of success, but after that my motivation went way down.  Olivia and I flew to the States for a month to visit my family, and even though I continued to take her to the potty quite a lot, I stopped doing all diaper free time.  Another big factor for us is that I finally bought some decent cloth diapers. They are a lot cheaper in the US, so I bought a full set while I was there, and ever since then I have been happily relying on those without feeling bad about the environment or Olivia’s bottom.

my cloth diaper stash

After all, with beautiful diapers like these, who can resist?!?!  I LOVE using them!!!

In the US, I even took Olivia to the toilet at night, and it worked out very well – she would move around while still half asleep, I took her to the bathroom, she did her business, and sometimes I would nurse her back to sleep, other times she just slept without nursing.   She did have a tendency to cry when I first took her to the toilet, but if I gave her a paper dixie cup to play with she would be happy.  Often she didn’t really even wake up at all.

But after coming back home, for some reason I dropped the night EC-ing, and started on a slow decline of potty opportunities until pretty soon I wasn’t even taking her more than once every couple of hours.  Looking back, I think the reason is that I still feel a bit overwhelmed here at home with no help, while at my parents house a lot of things (like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, etc) were all taken care of, so I had more time to focus on Olivia and to relax and take care of myself.  Nonetheless, my everyday situation is that I am alone with Olivia most of the time, and I have to take care of the house and chores myself, so I have been letting EC slide.

She has completely stopped signaling since I wasn’t responding to her anyways out of laziness.  But I have noticed that she really has seriously increased her holding power of the last few months.  She can now hold it in for something around an hour, which actually makes EC seem a lot more do-able.  I just haven’t been paying any attention and instead am going almost 100% on my intuition (i.e., whenever it happens to pop into my mind I take her to the bathroom, so it still is quite often, nevertheless.)  I also usually take her after she wakes up or after nursing.  So actually… when I think about it I’m not really doing that much differently than before, it just feels a lot different since we are WAY out of sync from each other.  When I pay more attention to her, our success rate also goes way up, to the point were I could probably have mostly catches, but… well… I guess I am just not really that motivated anymore.

Part of me feels bad about it, but another, more logical part of me says that it really doesn’t matter.  After all, she knows what the potty is for and she still does her business there quite a lot: at least 4-5 times a day.

Who can resist a fluffy baby butt?

Who can resist a fluffy baby butt?

So even though I am not putting much effort into EC at this point, I’m pretty confident that it won’t have any negative impact on her potty training when that time comes.  If I were to put more effort into the whole thing, I probably could have switched to training pants or underwear by now with only very few misses per day.  But I am simply not that motivated, so I am going to put that off for a while.  After all, I have to get some value out of my beautiful cloth diapers!

We have a climber…!

Oh how time flies!  Olivia has been getting quicker and quicker, scooting from place to place on her belly, and ending up in all sorts of unexpected situations.   A few weeks ago I found her under the bed.

Olivia under the bed

Olivia under the bed

Then she was starting to navigate minor obstacles.

Crawling over the leg of the computer table

Crawling over the leg of the computer table

Then just yesterday I turned around in the kitchen to see this:

Climbing onto the step stool in the kitchen

Climbing onto the step stool in the kitchen

She watched an older girl doing this just a few days ago, and then just copied her!  Incredible.

Time to start moving everything to the next higher shelf…

No, I don’t have to let your dog near my baby.

Today I took Olivia on a walk down to the little corner grocery store near our house.  As we were coming out of the store, two thuggish-looking guys where just finishing tying the leash of their black, boxer-looking dog to the post at the end of the ramp.    I took one look and headed for the stairs, instead.

The guys immediately said – “oh!  Don’t worry!  He’s a good dog – he won’t do anything – go ahead and come down this way!”

“Oh… that’s ok… it’s no problem, only 2 stairs…” I said nicely, already on my way down the stairs.

“Really – he’s perfectly harmless – just come here, you’ll see!”  They said, almost as if they WANTED me to come that way.

“Uh, ha.. ha.. that’s really ok…” I said laughing, ” I’m sure he’s nice, but I’ll go this way, thanks.”

By this point I was already down the stairs and quickly steering my stroller the other way, while they tried to convince me to show the dog to the baby.

I’m sorry, but I don’t know you OR your dog.   What exactly is your agenda, anyways?!

I understand that a lot of dog owners feel put out by all the non-dog people, and want to prove to the world that dogs are actually wonderful and great.  Especially the owners of bulldogs, pit-bulls and rotweilers, which everyone is scared of.  They feel their dogs are mis-understood, and maybe they are.   Really, I believe you, that your dog is a great dog and wonderful friend, and is great with kids and even babies.  I believe you that he would never harm a fly.  But my daughter means the world to me.  I would never put her in a potentially dangerous situation just so that you can prove your point.  Go and prove your point with your own baby.


The truth is that even though there may be plenty of dogs out there which ARE harmless, there are also plenty of dogs which have hurt or even killed children.  The owners of the dogs are always shocked that their dog would do such a thing.  “He was always great with her!  He loved her!  We have no idea what made him do it!”  Because you see, love is blind.  I understand, because I could never ever picture my 9-month-old killing a dog with her razor-blade teeth.  But that’s just because I love her… the reality is that she just *might* do it someday to some poor, unsuspecting doggy, and then I am going to just shake my head in wonder and tell the grieving owners that I never thought she had it in her.  After all, she was always harmless before!

This is my impression of a dog. You think I’m harmless, but wait till you fall asleep at night…



The Solids Saga – Part 4 – I Finally Understand

If you’ve been following my previous posts regarding food, you’ll know that I have been a little unsure of how exactly to introduce solids to Olivia.  I wanted to do baby-led-weaning, but at 7 months, Olivia was still gagging on everything she put within a foot of her mouth.  Even water.  I’m not sure why it took her so long to loose the gagging reflex, but it really didn’t happen until she was 8 months old.  And I’ll be honest, I was worried.  I was starting to think I was doing everything wrong.

She is NOT interested in this piece of toast with bannanas.

I did try giving Olivia some purees, even some pureed meat, but she didn’t take much of it, and mostly just made my life difficult by trying to grab the spoon and throw the food everywhere.  I really didn’t like the idea of force-feeding her, so I decided to just back off.  She seemed healthy enough… and at 10.5 kg she wasn’t exactly lacking in the weight department.  (That is around the 95th percentile for weight, in case you were wondering…)

In the mean-time, I ordered the “Baby Led Weaning Cookbook”, and when it finally arrived, I read it cover to cover.  Let me tell you I was shocked to see that they hardly talked about gagging at all.  Just a half page.  And they said that babies usually learn how to deal with the food and stop gagging after a few days or maybe weeks.  They talked about 6 month old babies who were chewing on pieces of chicken, and 7 month-olds who would eat an entire apple, and then spit out the seeds!  “What is wrong with my baby?”  I thought.

Peas and rice from a pork chop dish we had

The other thing which surprised me is that most of the recipes in the book are basically just regular “food”.  Things like Tomato Roasted Chicken, and Chili con Carne.  Pancakes.  Scrambled Eggs.  Thai Green Curry.  The main thing is not to add any salt or sugar, and avoid any heavily salted foods like ham.    They don’t even give any kind of “recommended” age range for any of the foods.  That’s when I finally understood the whole point.  Babies really CAN eat everything from the very beginning.  You really don’t have to be worried about them choking on a noodle or the banana sticking to the roof of their mouths.  There are no “steps” to follow, and there are no schedules.  I was so caught up in the idea of there being a “method” to follow that I was blinding myself to the simplicity of it all.

Pasta with tomato sauce and tuna fish – the first dish Olivia really enjoyed eating

So I started making meals out of the book for Oscar and I to eat, and giving Olivia a little bit on her own plate.  She mostly ignored the food, or if she did touch it she threw it on the floor without even tasting it.  Then I realized that she was usually too tired or too hungry at mealtimes, and so she wasn’t interested in playing with anything.  I tried harder to get meals ready early, then to feed her, give her a rest, and THEN bring her to the table for lunch.  That was when it finally started working.  The first meal she really “ate” was a pasta with tuna fish and tomato sauce.  I was really impressed that she liked it and kept bringing bits of it to her mouth!

Chickpea patties with cucumber & yohgurt sauce (and tortillas – not pictured)

So now I include her in every meal, and she sometimes takes very small bits of it, other times she just plays with it, and sometimes she just wants down from the high chair without even looking at the food.  I am letting her go at her own pace, and I am no longer worried.  And the best part – she’s finally learned how to deal with food… she’s only gagged on food a few times in three weeks!

So now I’ve pulled out all the stops.  She’s had chicken, pork and beef, all in large chunks or strips.  She’s also had eggs, dairy and gluten with no issues.  So basically she eats with us for every meal now.  She hardly swallows anything, so she really is filling her hunger with breast milk still, but that’s ok with me.  I figure it will go in it’s own time.  One of these days she will realize that food also can satisfy hunger, and then she will start to eat more and more.  That’s why it’s called baby-led-weaning after all.

So yes, my 9-month-old is still 99% breastfed.  But she is also very healthy and strong, so I am not worried.

Spaghetti with green cauliflower

Pasta with mushrooms and carbonara sauce

Olivia’s friend Norah

Today I would like to introduce my friend Lisa, and her daughter Norah.  Norah is just one month younger than Olivia, and they used to live just a few blocks from our house, so we went on lots of long walks together.

Here are Lisa and Norah:

Lisa carrying Norah

(We were hanging out at the Karlsruhe Palace one afternoon back in June)

Norah and Olivia like to play together, but I’ll be honest with you… 3 and 4 month old babies really have a tough time playing together.  It’s pretty hard to do much when all you can do is lay on your belly and flap your arms.

But sometimes we put them next to each other too, and that was always interesting!

“Let me hold your hand! Err… I mean crush it…”

“Your ear looks interesting.  Can I eat it?”

“Yeah yeah, whatever.”

“La La La La” Sings Olivia.

“”What is this crazy girl doing next to me?” Says Norah.

“What is this prickly green stuff?”

OK, I know Norah and Lisa aren’t in this picture, but it was an awesome picture, and it was from the same day as all the rest.  And Lisa took it.  So I guess it belongs in this post, too.

I think I can safely say that Lisa become my best friend here in Karlsruhe.  But as fate would have it, she and Norah had to move away just 5 months after we met 😦  She is now living in Berlin.  But I am crossing my fingers and hoping that someday she will come back.  After all, I really think Olivia and Norah miss pulling each other’s hair!

Bye Norah!  We miss you!

Happy Belated 9-month and 6-Month Birthday, Olivia!

I wrote this post three months ago, when Olivia turned 6 months old. But I never posted it since the pictures were still on my camera. So now I am retroactively publishing my birthday wishes to Olivia 😀
On Monday she turned 9 months old, so happy 9-month burthday, too!

So here is the original post:

On Sunday, Olivia turned 6 months old. I can barely believe it. It seems like so little time has passed. I mean, we haven’t even sent out her birth announcements yet! (!?!?!?!)

Olivia, you are one amazing little girl. You just completely melt my heart. It has been fascinating watching your personality develop from a newborn to today. And boy, do you ever have a personality! I am so excited and curious to see how you will grow and change from here. I wish I could slow down time and enjoy it to the fullest. A few more hours of sleep would probably help that too.

But regardless of how fast you grow up, I will enjoy every step of the way. I want to be there for everything. I promise I will try to let you do things on your own. I am very much enjoying helping you out with them now while you still want me too.

Please, please, please try to enjoy these days while you still have a full day to nap. It will be gone before you know it! And it would make it a million times easier for me to play with you and be patient if I could get a couple extra hours of sleep, too. But I know you don’t understand or care about that. You are so curious about the world around you, and would rather be out practicing rolling and scooting around. Discovering all of the crinkle-paper out there to discover. Testing your new tooth on everything in sight.

Happy 6-month birthday my darling daughter!

Love, Mom


We were also lucky to have friends visit us from Canada on her birthday, so I tried to make a small “party” for her while they were here. I even made a cake!

Unfortunately, Olivia fought her naps all day, and didn’t sleep a single minute. Our friends didn’t arrive until around 4:30, and Olivia passed out an hour later. It was the earliest I have ever seen her go to sleep for the night! She was completely exhausted.

Happy Half-Birthday from all of us!

So, unfortunately she missed her birthday cake, and all the photos. But you know what? a good night’s sleep really is a much better birthday present. Or at least, it’s one *I* would be happy to get!


Back in August we went to the “Artgerecht” family camp at Umweltzentrum Drei Eichen.  The camp was in Buckow, which is about an hour east of Berlin, in the beautiful Märkische Schweiz (a nice mountainous area covered in forests and lakes.)   This wasn’t just any old camp… it was all about raising babies, and the whole idea was that we lived as a “clan”, where each family supported the others.  We had seminars every day on various baby-related topics, such as breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, and of course… EC!  Most of the families at the camp practice EC, even with mulitple children.  One family had done it with all four of their kids!  I am secretly in awe of their mom, so I am really happy to learn that they will be moving close to us sometime next year!!  They also have thier own blog, which you can read here.

It was so cool to see so many babies and toddlers running around without diapers.  Some with no pants, some totally naked and covered head to toe in dirt…. it was just beautiful.  It was also nice to hear so many peoples’ stories and experiences.  It really made me feel better to see that a lot of EC-ing parents actually do use diaper back-ups most of the time.  From what I read on the internet I was feeling like we were the only ones not going “all in”.

The whole “clan” aspect of the camp was very cool, too.  We shared a tee-pee with two other families.  You would think that with three babies we would have been awake all night, but would you believe it: each of us only woke up for our own babies, but not the others?  Olivia and I woke up a few times to nurse every night, but the noise never bothered anyone else. And I never woke up for anyone else’s babies’ cries.  I guess mother nature really has our ears trained well.

It was nice to have so many people around to help each other out.  This is something which is really missing in our modern society, where families rarely live in the same house as their relatives, and neighbors stay our of each other’s business.  We really are very much alone and the burden is heavy.

The nature, the people, the babies… being able to relax and just go at our own pace… all in all it was a wonderful experience.  The only thing I would’ve changed is to have made it longer. Well, that and have more food available.  The kitchen seemed to be pretty skimpy and I often went away a bit hungry.   But that was ok, it was still worth it.

And here are the pictures!

Here is me airing out the sleeping bags before our trip. Olivia is helping me pack!

Since the drive up to Berlin was about 7 hours, we decided to spend the night in Berlin before continuing to the camp in Buckow. We didn’t bring a crib, so we just pushed the beds together up against the wall to make a family bed. Here is Olivia rolling around on the bed. And yes, she did discover that light-switch pretty quickly!

We took a whirlwind tour of Berlin on our way out to the camp in Buckow. This is the Brandenburg Gate from the car! 

This is the teepee village. Ours was the extra big one on the right-hand side. We shared it with two other families.

Olivia shared a sleeping bag with me, which was definately the best since the temperatures were in the single digits at night. It was so cold that I really couldn’t take her potty at night. But inside the down sleeping bag it was nice and cozy! She usually slept from about 10pm to 7am, waking up only once or twice to nurse. (basically the same as her schedule at home)

We gathered all our own firewood

I guess I must have a good “mom” vibe going… I even attracted other people’s kids! haha. It takes a village…

One evening we made “Stockbrot” (bread on a stick)

Oscar helping Johanna to make a bowl with burning coals

We did tons of diaper-free time, so we used quite a few pairs of underwear!

Olivia got to try out her teeth on lots of vegitables! She didn’t really eat anything the whole time, though.

Olivia really enjoyed having quality time with daddy.


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