Parenting 2.0

Archive for November 2009

We’ve all heard or perhaps thought the saying: If only I had a third hand.  However, it’s not been until Niko was born that I’ve truly felt the sentiments of these words.  I mean, really, a third hand would help out a lot! This is why I am so happy to have discovered the Baby Bjorn! We bought one on the weekend and I got around to opening and trying it out today.  This contraption really does make for a hands-free baby.  Not only does it free up another hand, but when I am using the Baby Bjorn I have two hands free! Imagine that.

I thought this Bjorn would be perfect for walking the dog too: just strap Niko in and away we go.  However, once I got him bundled in his snowsuit (as we had our first snowfall today!), shove as I was, there was really no way to shove Niko comfortably into the Bjorn. Perhaps I needed to take a bit more time trying to figure it out, but when Frasier – our poodle – needs to get outside he can get a little hyber, nosing his way into everything. So with this nosy dog around I just couldn’t figure out how to fanagle the Bjorn with a baby in a snowsuit.  But, I have seen pictures of other people doing it, so there must be a way.

I’ve heard that babies can have growth spurts and go through periods where they will be more hungry than usual.  This must be what was happening yesterday as it seemed Niko was hungry all the time! I mean he ate pretty much non-stop from 6 to 1 am, with maybe just a few 20 minute breaks in between! Wow, what a day.  That was exhausting! I wonder what today will bring?

On the best of days the mall is not a place where I really choose to spend too much time: the crowds and people with their one track minds are just something I like to avoid.  That said, the mall at Christmas time is definitely not a favourite hangout.  But, in an attempt to get a start on my Christmas shopping, I headed out to the mall today.  Armed with a list and having a direct mission in mind…oh oh, baby’s crying, I will be back…

One hour later, and I am back…

So, like I was saying, today I headed for the mall.  Being a Saturday, Borys was home for most of the day and able to watch Niko so I could go out alone and get some serious shopping done.  I had it all planned out: I fed the baby, and then was out the door thinking that would maximize the amount of time I could get away.  Well, after rushing through Toys’R’Us, I made it to two other stores before my cellphone started ringing…

Borys: Umm…Alli? How much longer will you be? Niko’s crying and there’s a virus on our computer!

Me: A virus on the computer? Oh no! I will be home right away! (I joke…)

Anyway, I finished up at the store and headed home.  It’s amazing what I can accomplish in one hour now, as opposed to the pre-Niko days.  (I am sure the list helped a lot.) Actually, maybe my cell phone ringing was a blessing in disguise, saving me from the Christmas-crazed shoppers – of which, I myself had also become by this point. Oh well, there’s still a few more days until Christmas, and at least some of the shopping is complete!

On the day Niko was born I sent out a text message via my cellphone to friends and family that we had had a baby boy, four weeks early!  At the time I sent a hasty and excited message that went something like this: “Baby surprise today! Nico Gregory weighing in at just under 6lbs”.  When I got home from the hospital, I also sent out some pics via email of our new son, some of which were labeled Nico and some that were labeled Niko.

Before Niko was born, Borys and I had discussed the spelling of his name.  Would it be Nico or Niko? I didn’t have too much of a preference, but Borys really wanted it with a “K”.  So, Niko with a “K” is what we decided on.  However, in the haste and excitement of the messages I first sent out, I misspelled his name.  This would probably explain the confusion some of my friends and family now have about spelling his name. It is my fault! I am the one who has confused everyone, and now this is an attempt to set the record straight, to give our son a single identity, and let people know his name is officially Niko with a “K” :).

Note: Niko’s full name is actually Nikolai.

Lately I have been contemplating getting professinal pictures of Niko.  I mean each day he is only getting older and older and bigger and bigger, and it is probably a good idea to capture him on camera as he grows.  Then I had a brainwave: why not try to take the pictures myself! Am I a professional photographer? No, and far from it, but I do like to take pictures and Borys does have an SLR Nikon camera, so why not give it a whirl.  Well, after a short tutorial from Borys, I was on my way.  With Niko as my model I went to town, and over a hundred pictures later I was done! Out of that 100 or so pics, I think I did catch a few cute ones for the Christmas card.

Is there really any better way to spend a birthday than practicing NIP (nursing in public)? My how things change once you have a baby… My friend Heather knows NIP is a concern (perhaps verging on phobia) of mine and suggested we go out for lunch today with our babies, sit in a booth, bite the bullet, and give it some practice.  She has been on a few road trips since the birth of her daughter, and has become what I would call a pro.  Me on the other hand, well I could use some guidance on being a discreet NIPper.  In talking with her and some other friends, I’ve come to realize it’s all in how your place your Pashmina (or burping blanket), really.  Although some would say: “Forget the Pashmina! I am feeding my kid and what is more natural than that? There is no need to take cover”.  But for modesty’s sake and my own sanity, I think I will go the route of the Pashmina, thank you very much!

And now that the day is done, I can type with confidence and say the NIP excursion was a success (not to mention that I was treated to a birthday lunch as well :)).  Perhaps the empty restaurant and booth we were sitting in were both encouraging factors, but Niko and I did it, and did it proudly (and modestly)! Yah for that!

In a country like Canada, being bilingual is a definite asset.  Living in Ottawa many more doors are opened if you can speak both of the country’s official languages, and in the future we hope that Niko speaks both English and French fluently.  He seems to be off to a bilingual start anyway, just not a French and English one.

Both Borys and I are used to hearing the regular sounds of crying, cooing, gurgling, and grunting that come from our little guy (especially grunting).  But we were caught off guard the other day when standing in the kitchen and we heard him say “Baba Yaga” (sounds like bubba yugga).  This is how it happened:

Niko: Baba Yaga

Borys/Allison: Did he just say Baba Yaga?!

Borys/Allison: Yes, it sounded clearly like Baba Yaga?

Allison: Hmm…what does that mean? Baba Yaga?

Borys: In Polish that means witch, or it’s this witch-like character.

Allison: Hey, I think I remember reading about Baba Yaga when I was a kid.

Well, after a bit of research and with the guidance of Wikipedia, I have discovered more about Baba Yaga.  Yes, she is a witch-like character that “flies around on a giant mortar or broomstick, kidnaps (and presumably eats) small children, and lives in a house which stands on chicken legs”. What? Eats small children! Oh, Niko, why would you choose this for your first word?!

To complete his bilingual repertoire, last night as we were all lying in bed watching TV, Niko chest down on top of me and gazing around intently, said “Hi”. This is how it went:

Niko: Hi.

Borys/Allison: Did he just say “hi”?!

Borys/Allison: It sounded just like it! Weird.

So, for a baby just over two months old we are clearly impressed by his vocal abilities.  We just hope this continues when he has to learn French!

What an amazing November it’s been: lots of sunny days and warmer than average temperatures.  This beautiful weather has granted us the opportunity for many walks with Frasier and quite often with TEB too (Traci, Eli and Buddy) :).  The nature trail we go walking on is a great place for us and the dogs to get some fresh air: Niko just wishes it was a little closer to home as he is usually getting hungry by the time we leave.  Although by the looks of him in the picture below, he seems pretty content!

When we went walking today I had to laugh, as Niko reminded me of that kid from the movie A Christmas Story. It is Ralphie’s younger brother, the one who gets all bundled up for the snow, then falls down and can’t get back up again because he has too many winter layers on.  Well, the suit that Niko wore today totally reminded me of that kid.  When I picked him up out of his car seat, he was stiff as a board and could hardly bend his arms and legs!

Well, Niko (and I) were completely spoiled yesterday! What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon and evening.  My friends organized a shower for him and held it at a local hotel.  Of course Niko was the charmer of the party, being the only male, and was passed from arm to arm, impressing everyone with his alert eyes, and stylish clothes (thanks Gramma!).

My friend Alison made adorable little sugar cookies in the shape of babies and Ns, and Heather made an awesome baby buggy cake! Once Niko had opened all his gifts, Daddy picked him up and it turned into ladies night out: Vietnamese dinner, followed by rock’n’bowl, then karaoke. Is there really any better way to spend a night out?! It was perf!

In the early days, when Niko was first born, he was having some issues with breastfeeding.  Seeing as he was in the NICU, we were seeing a lactation consultant to help us get going.  One day the lactation consultant felt around in his mouth, and afterward suggested that we get his tongue snipped. Snipped?! I had no idea what she was talking about! She went on to explain that she thought he had a tongue-tie or tethered tongue and that this was impeding his ability to breastfeed.  I had never heard of such a thing and inquired a bit more.  She told me it was a simple procedure done at the doctor’s office, where the tie that is under the tongue, that connects to the base of the mouth is simply snipped so that his tongue can latch easier when nursing.  This sounded a bit barbaric to me, but she told me it really doesn’t hurt the baby, and that there is no freezing needed: the doctor just goes in with the clippers and does the trick. Ouch! (That was all I could think at the time.)

She also told me that having a tongue-tie can hinder speech development in the future.  This got me thinking, so I talked to my doctor about it and she was leaning toward NOT getting the snip.  She said it used to be really common, but not so much anymore, and that a lot of times, newborns’ tongues will stretch as they grow and they will therefore grow out of not being able to latch.  My doctor further went on to feel his tongue-tie and did not think it was a concern.  After talking with Borys, we decided not to get the snip.

Over the past couple of weeks, Niko has been sticking out his tongue a lot.  Sometimes when we stick ours out at him, he will mirror this back, with a smile! And, he just sticks it out on his own as well, for no apparent reason.  I can’t help but wonder: is he just trying to prove, “See Mom and Dad, I didn’t need to get that nasty little snip! Look at me, I can stick my tongue out like the best of them!”.

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