Mommy Guilt and Anxiety

March 25, 2015

I’ve heard all about kids having issues with separation anxiety throughout the first few years of their lives. I now know first hand what it’s like because that’s currently one our biggest challenges with Erin. What I didn’t know or expect was the separation anxiety that I, as a mom, would have. I have yet to spend a night away from the baby and I don’t think I’ll be ready to any time soon. I already feel bad for dropping Erin off at daycare Monday-Friday. I think that just makes it harder for me to choose to be away from Erin especially if it’s not necessary. So the mommy guilt kicks in. Here are a few contributing factors:
  • Feeling anxious is a normal thing and that just means I have a healthy bond with my kid. So of course as a first time parent, I’ll feel nervous about being separated from my child. My parental instincts are telling me to protect and be with my child. Everything is still new to me. All of what I experienced with Erin so far have been my firsts so I think it’s natural to feel the way I do.
  • No one else knows my child better than I do. I (and Ken) spend the most time with Erin (our caretaker at daycare probably spends just as much time with her). I feel nervous leaving my kid with someone who doesn’t know the little secrets and there’s always that fear that something might happen while I’m not with her (especially if its overnight). I think this is the biggest struggle for let go. I can’t control everything and I’ve got to get used to the idea of letting Erin go. This is just the beginning too! What’s going to happen to me when she starts school? graduates high school? gets married?! 
Some solutions/tips:
  • Allow myself to feel anxious. It’s a natural thing, but it shouldn’t dictate the choices I make. My feelings of guilt shouldn’t consume me.
  • It’s a good thing that Erin is being cared for by other people. Especially because she already has a hard time being separated from us, it’s important that we give Erin the opportunity to work on it. Kids adapt well and I know that Erin will too, so I just have to trust that feeling.
  • Get out. I’ve definitely done things away from the baby, i.e. hang out with friends, watch a movie, date night, etc. It’s healthy for me to spend time for myself and I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Ken and I know this is something we should be doing more of. We need to be just as good at nurturing our husband/wife relationship as we are nurturing the relationship with our daughter. It’s funny because when we are out sans baby, all we ever do is talk about Erin and say how much we miss her.
I don’t think I’m quite ready to be apart from my daughter...overnight, especially if both Ken and I are not there. Baby steps. I’m sure with time or maybe with more kids, I’ll jump at any moment I get at spending a night (or two or three??) away from the kid(s). 

I love that I can still carry her and keep her nice and close to me.

Big Girl.


Beat the Heat

March 18, 2015

It’s technically still winter right? I can’t believe how hot this winter has been. I actually really dislike hot weather. I’d definitely choose cold weather over hot. This “winter” has not been a good one for me. I was looking forward to rainy, cold days, but I got a lot of hot, dry days. UGH. So how do we beat this heat? We swim! I actually don’t really like the water (Hah, I guess I don’t like a lot of things). I’m more of a land person (Ken is the same). But with Erin in the picture now, I want to like water. I really want Erin to love the water and hopefully she’ll be a good swimmer. Once summer starts drawing closer and the weather remains warm, we’ll most likely enroll Erin in some parent and me swim classes. Hopefully our family will start loving the water!

1. H&M 2. Boden 3. Tucker + Tate 4. Old Navy Flip-flops 5. Crocs 6. Native 7. Target Floppy Hat 8. Old Navy Sun Hat
Kids swimwear is the cutest. I’m not a big two-piece swim suit kind of person (for kids specifically), but I’ll put the rash guard type of suits on Erin. Love Tucker + Tate swimsuits!

We went to the pool this past weekend. Erin was super excited to try out her new floaties. She didn’t like them too much once we put her in the water.

That’s a whole lot of pink. I tried avoiding all things pink as long as I could. Didn’t last long.

She didn’t like the water too much. She barely kicked her legs or moved her body at all. She had more fun sitting and watching the people in the water. I’m sure she’ll learn to love the water in no time.



Planning for Italy

March 13, 2015

We leave for Italy in just a little over a month (April 16)! It seemed so long ago when we had first booked the tickets, but now the time is finally near. This will be our first trip abroad as a family. Yes, we will be taking little Erin with us. She probably won't remember anything from this trip, but I will! I can't imagine traveling to new places without her anymore. 

Planning for this trip was very different because Erin is now in the picture. We didn't want to plan a million things so we actually have a very open schedule, which is the weird part. Ken and I are very big planners and when traveling, we like to do and see as much as possible. We have a list of things we’d like to get done, but we haven’t made any specific plans to do it on a certain time or day. With a toddler coming along, we had to accept the fact that we won't be able to do it all and our plans won’t always go accordingly to plan. We will be visiting only 2 spots in Italy: Rome and Cinque Terre. We will most likely have time to visit a third spot (hopefully Pisa), but we'll play that by ear and see how things go when we're actually there. Our trip will be a total of 11 days: 7 nights in Rome; 3 nights in Cinque Terre. Rather than staying in hotels, we booked vacation rental homes through airbnb. The last time I was in Europe, I stayed in a rental apartment and it was great. Lots more space/room to run around and they've got washing machines and a kitchen to cook if need be, which will be perfect when traveling with a kid. I'm hoping I have the same positive experience in Italy.
Deciding what to take to Italy has been the most challenging (I’m mentally packing right now and have started writing out my packing list). We've been on short trips with Erin and we've gone on a week long camping before, but this will be the longest Erin has been away from home. I don't want to pack too much and I don't want to forget anything important. Besides all the usual traveling essentials, here is what we've decided to take with us:

1. Hiking backpack. We're planning to do a lot of hiking in Cinque Terre (weather permitting - crossing fingers). Ken will be carrying around Erin in one of these. 
2. Brica portable changing pad. I imagine we'll be doing a lot of diaper changes in random places, streets, tables, etc. I bought this one specifically for traveling. It's a little on the big side, but I like that it can store a lot and that it’s also padded enough for comfort.
3. Inglesina table high chair. People have told me that there is a high possibility that there will be no high chair available at the restaurants we eat at. We use this thing all the time here, so this is a must for traveling.
4. Instant rice and Korean food. The great thing about staying in a vacation home is that there will be a kitchen to use. Erin's a pretty picky eater so just in case she decides she doesn't like Italian food, I want to make sure we have something I know she'll eat. She's a true Asian and loves her rice. 
5. Ergo baby carrier. I'm lucky that Erin still fits into this thing and that she doesn't weigh too much. Hopefully she'll take some naps in this thing while we're out and about.
6. Ipad. This was a no brainer. We don't let Erin use the Ipad too much in general, but I'll be taking this for the plane ride there and back. I'm dreading the long flights with her and I hope that if need be, the Ipad will make things all better and keep everyone happy.
The one thing we decided we will not be taking is our stroller. Our friends that have traveled to Italy told us that the cobblestone streets will make it difficult to walk through with a stroller and it might even ruin the stroller.  So we’ll rent a stroller there if need be. I imagine I’ll be getting some good work outs in each day from all the walking and carrying of stuff/baby.
We’re hoping that Italy won’t be too crazy packed with tourists since it will still technically be off season. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a lot done. Here’s a list of what we plan/want to do (I’m going to write a post about my trip after I get back and cross off the things we actually did end up doing):
  1. Colosseum
  2. Vatican City - Sistine Chapel. St. Peter’s Basilica
  3. Trevi Fountain (I hear it's still under renovation)
  4. Pantheon
  5. Eat Gelato at least once a day
  6. Roman Forum
  7. Spanish Steps
  8. Campo dei fiori
  9. Explora Kids museum
  10. Bioparco in Rome
  11. Hike through Cinque Terre
  12. Visit Jewish ghetto
It’s not a very extensive list, so I think it’s doable (hopefully). 

But all in all, I am SO excited to be doing some traveling abroad, especially with my family. Besides the dreaded flights; the concerns about whether Erin will eat/sleep well; adjusting to the time change and dealing with jet lag, I hope this trip is a successful and fun one! 
I’m excited to see what kind of pictures Ken takes on this trip.

Sleep Training Fail

March 10, 2015

I've had many parents tell me about sleep training and how it will be very important for both the child and parent. I've never read any books about it, but I did do a little research online to get a better idea. Before Erin was here, I told myself that sleep training would be a must and that I'd accept nothing less. That was definitely easier said than done. I will admit, I am a sleep training failure. Here's a little of what my successes and failures looked like in the last 18 months.
  • Erin at 3 months - She started sleeping in her own room. At this age, I still nursed her to sleep. She slept in her crib and still woke up at least 2-3 times a night for a feeding, but because she wasn't eating enough during the day, I welcomed the night wakings. So no sleep training at this point.
  • Erin at 6 months - We attempted sleep training. Erin wouldn't fall asleep nursing as often at this age so on those off days we'd sleep train. We let her cry it out, but it only ended up lasting a mere 10-15 minutes. After just a few days, she wasn't crying at all and was falling asleep on her own. Success! I was relieved that my little baby didn't end up crying for hours before falling asleep and that the training didn't take long at all. She'd have a couple of nights of regressing and sleeping in our bed, but in general, she self soothed and slept well in her own room. (Still was still waking up at least once for a feeding during the night).
  • Erin at 9 months - Regression. Erin hit a regression and wasn't sleeping well anymore. We tried sleep training again (sleep train again?! what the what?!). She'd cry and cry and it'd break my heart to see her sweating and crying out for us. She'd go on for over an hour, probably cry for several hours if we didn't go in. I couldn't bear to hear her crying, so she made her way back in our bed. Having her sleep with us was a bit of a pain/challenge in the beginning. Homegirl takes up A LOT of room and she moves ALL over the place. It took some getting used to, but after a while, I loved having her sleep with us. I actually welcomed it. (She was still waking up at least once for a feeding during the night).
  • Erin at 12 months - By some miracle, Erin was back to self soothing and sleeping on her own. Oh, and finally sleeping through the night! No sleep training here. She just did it herself. Whatever the reason might have been, Ken and I were just happy to be getting a full nights rest, finally. Wweeeee! (No more night feedings).
  • Erin at 14.5 months - The full nights rest didn't last very long. Erin hit yet another regression. This one was a doozy. This regression was the worst of what we've seen so far. With her being older came more of a stubbornness. We attempted to sleep train her again, but had no success. There were a lot of rough nights with night wakings and she'd want to stay awake, showing absolutely no signs of tiredness. (Ex., She'd wake up at 12am and wouldn't fall back asleep till 2am).
  • Erin at 18 months and current - She won't fall asleep unless someone is in the room with her. So Ken and I just sit next to her crib till she falls asleep. Sometimes it'll take a few minutes and other times it can take up to 30 minutes. I guess we had this coming right? Erin will start off sleeping in her room and may sleep through the night or she'll wake up and end up in our bed. Talk about inconsistent. But, on the bright side, her daytime naps have been consistently good since birth. She rarely puts up a fight during her naps.

So to sum it all up, we've had more sleep training failures than successes. Sleep training requires 100% commitment and both Ken and I were halfheartedly doing it (you'll need to re-sleep train after each regression, not.kool). It really requires you to throw away sleep for a handful of days and I just didn't have the heart, time or energy. A few of the reasons being: A) felt bad for my neighbors; B) felt bad for Erin; C) too lazy and tired because of work; and D) didn't mind having Erin in our bed. 

I guess our "sleep training" approach was more of a: let things happen naturally and lets do what we can so we all can get some rest? Maybe because Erin's a girl and we didn't want to be too tough with her has something to do with it? Maybe we'll sleep train again? Who knows. All of this has been a learning experience. I learned a lot about regressions and why babies have them. I learned that kids are all so different so there isn't just one way to do things. I ended up enjoying co-sleeping more than I had expected.  I learned that there is no such thing as consistency when it comes to my daughter's sleep. Her sleep in a month literally looks something like this:

There are definitely more bad days than good. But I realized that some babies just love sleep and are great sleepers, while others just don't sleep much at all. There's no real wrong or right way and I've learned that as a parent, you really are the one that knows what's best for your child. I just hope that all this will help pave better or more effective decisions with my future kids.

A picture from one of her good days. She just recently started sleeping on her stomach.

Oh, and much as I love having Erin in our bed, I hope it's something Erin will grow out of (hopefully she'll start getting annoyed of daddy's snoring). But, how can we say no to this face??


Raising a Reader

March 6, 2015

I'd like to start off by mentioning that I myself am not much of a reader. I can't say I've ever had a heart for books. I wish I did. I guess it had to do with: A) I had other more "important" things to do; B) Most books were boring to me; and right now my reason being: not having enough time. I remember I heard about the bestseller titled "The Shack". I tried reading it, but I couldn't for the life of me get past the 3rd page (I attempted 2 more times with no success). Weak sauce right? It was just so hard to read or enjoy. So all I know is that I want Erin to love reading (crossing fingers). It's never too early to start reading to your baby. Babies may not understand everything, but they are soaking it all in and they're paying attention to what you're saying and what they're seeing. I'm so glad Erin loves books and "reading". She obviously can't read right now so Ken and I are doing the reading for her. Here are some of Erin's current favs:

1. Stuck- Oliver Jeffers 2. Oh, the Places You'll Go - Dr. Seuss 3. Potty- Leslie Patricelli 4. Babylit books -Jennifer Adams 5. Bible 6. Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown

Books 1 and 2 are a mystery to us as to why Erin likes them so much at her current age. Ken actually really dislikes book 1 for some reason, but Erin really enjoys it. Poor Ken has to read the book over and over, sometimes 5 times in a row. Book 2 is a classic and even though there are a lot of words involved, I think she enjoys the illustrations and I'm sure she likes the rhyming too. Book 3 has been a good way for introducing potty training. But my personal favorites are the Babylit books by Jennifer Adams (book 4). There aren't too many words, but there are a lot of wonderfully illustrated pictures. Books 5 and 6 have things that Erin recognize so she loves pointing them out while we read it. 

I wanted to use reading as a way to encourage and further develop Erin's speech. I'd say she knows about a dozen words and I can see that she is now trying to put words together (a lot of what she says is still gibberish). She still does a lot of grunting and gesturing rather than trying to say something. It's cute when she pronounces something completely wrong, but she's so confident she's saying it right. Erin's favorite thing right now is to point at things and say something that sounds like "what's that?", making us name it for her. Its amazing how much information kids can store in their tiny heads!


Reading has been a great bonding time as well. Reading time means sitting on mommy and daddy's lap. She'll always switch off laps mid reading. I wonder if she prefers one parent's reading over the other. Ken definitely gets more animated and interactive with his reading, which is great for keeping Erin interested. I'd like to think I've got the better reading voice. Right now, Erin is on: repeat, repeat, repeat. She can have us read the same book 5 times in a row (sometimes more). It's not much fun for us parents, but Erin doesn't seem to mind it.

I do however realize that with age, Erin's attention span has been on a decline. It's probably a mixture of reasons; so many other books to see; easily distracted; she's getting bored, etc. It's been harder to get her to sit down/pay attention through one book. Here are a few tips for keeping your little reader interested:
  1. Be overly animated. Ken is great at this. He makes animal noises, gets his whole body involved and everything.
  2. Read in different accents. I'm sure it throws Erin off a little, but the confusion keeps her paying attention. It's quite entertaining for us parents too.
  3. Get your child involved. We have Erin pointing out everything she recognizes or we have her "read" along with us.
  4. Make a routine. We usually start reading time after dinner and before bedtime. We hope that having a routine makes her looking forward to reading time.
  5. Visit the library. This is something I've been wanting to do with Erin. Our library has story time and they have people come in and read to a group of children. They use puppets and everything and I'm sure Erin would love it because of the change of atmosphere. 
I hope Erin continues to have a love for books. I can't wait till she can actually start reading the books to me. It'll be a happy and sad moment, reminding me of how fast she's growing!

The Transition to Solids

March 3, 2015

We started Erin on solids earlier than we were planning. Erin refused drinking milk from the bottle and once I went back to work (she was 3 months old), she'd go all day without any food. So we introduced solids to her when she was about 4 months old to compensate for the lack of calorie intake. We started Erin on rice cereal (mixed it in with breast milk rather than water or formula). She hated it. I think it was a combination of it tasting yucky and that she was too young. We didn't want her starving all day so we kept up with the solids. We eventually switched it up and tried giving her something other than rice cereal, like butternut squash. She liked it a lot better (I'd actually recommend starting off with butternut squash, rather than rice cereal). It took Erin quite a few months to adjust to solids, it was a battle. Little Ms. Stubborn was very resistant. She would have food strikes and would just wait till I got home to drink milk the way she wanted to (reverse cycling). I'd say it took about 3 months of transitioning. Finally at around 7 months old, Erin was eating solids decently and regularly. 

Erin at 4 months eating some delicious rice cereal and peas.


By 7 months, Erin was eating: butternut squash, prunes, apples, pears, avocados, carrots, mixed veggies, and bananas. I was pureeing every week, making food in bulk and freezing it. (Prunes and pears will be your child's best friend..Constipation)

Butternut squash is great because it makes a lot at once (Butternut squash was Erin's favorite.)  Here's a quick how to:
1. Cut squash in half and spoon out all the seeds. 
2. Place the squash face down in a pan.
3. Add about an inch of water and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until skin of squash falls off easily.
4. Then mash with spoon or puree.

1. Electric Food Mill 2. Food Storage 3. Freezer Trays
The above items were basically all I used for making baby food. Pretty basic stuff, but got the job done. 

After a few months of pureeing like a mad woman, I got pretty tired of it. We decided to try a baby led weaning approach instead. Baby led weaning is basically offering foods that aren't pureed. Instead, you offer your child foods that you normally eat that are softer in texture (in smaller pieces) and let them choose how much and how they want to eat it. Foods that are good for baby led weaning are: avocados, tofu, puffs, soft fruits (pear, peach, bananas, plum), steamed veggies (peas, carrots), pasta and toast/bread. We had to cut things up pretty small for Erin. Anything bigger than the size of a dime, she'd spit out. Meats were the hardest to introduce. We would start off with ground beef or turkey in spaghetti and we'd cut up small pieces of soft chicken for her to eat. A few weeks into BLW, we realized that Erin wasn't eating as much as we wanted her to. One drawback of BLW is that there's no real way to measure how much your child is actually eating. Erin just wasn't gaining weight well. She was already tiny for her age and we really wanted her to take in more calories. So we ended up spoon feeding her as well. It was a hybrid feeding approach. We allowed Erin to continue feeding herself and, every other bite, we'd slip in a spoon full of something. This method was the most effective for us. BLW really encouraged her to explore for herself and be in somewhat control and spoon feeding kept us parents at ease in terms of a her eating enough. 

(BLW can and will get very messy)


Erin wasn't the best eater and still isn't. It comes in waves. One week she's great and the next week she's eating nothing. I'd definitely call her a picky eater. She's particular with size, texture and temperature. I'm pretty sure eating will always be a challenge with her. At 18 months, she's eating about 90% on her own and I'm still slipping in a spoon full of something every so often. (she's 4th percentile in weight). Never imagined that feeding your child would be such a stressful and challenging task. I only hope that with age...Erin will love food just as much as her daddy does!



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