Sunday, October 23, 2011

Parental Ideals

Dear Baby,

I was thinking about what would be best to do when you're older and you come to me for advice (as every child does). I don't like what almost all parent do, which is simply tell their child what they would do in the same situation, or they tell them what they want them to do. You're not me, so what I would do may not be the best choice for you. I decided that when you come to me for advice or guidance, I'd like to give you as many reactions to choose from as I can think of. Then, because you may want to know, I'd tell you what I would do if I were in your place.

For example, it's inevitable that you'll run into ignorant people who will react negatively to the fact that you have a Nana and a Nanny on Mommy's side and an Auntie with a girlfriend on Daddy's side. There's probably a good chance that one of your classmates will tease you about it; and when you come to me for help, I plan to let you know that there are many reactions you can choose from to handle it.

I like this idea best, because it'll benefit you immensely in life. Not only will it teach you that you always have a choice in how you conduct yourself, but it also teaches you to think out your options when tackling an issue in life instead of just blindly reacting (which will help build your problem solving skills). It'll help build your confidence to know that despite what challege you're facing you handled it in your own way. It'll teach you that for every decision you make, there is a consequence: Make a good decision and things will work well, but make a not-so-good decision and you may regret it. Also, I really want to encourage your individuality. I want to teach you that you are the only one who can truly decide what you will, or will not, do in life.

It was about 4am when I was thinking about this. I was outside having a smoke, and suddenly a mother came out of the building, carrying her little boy. I guess the boy had done something to upset her, and I heard her tell her son that he was "bad". That got me thinking about another parenting factor. I want to promise you that I will never tell you you're bad. Every child pushes his or her boundaries, and every child tests his or her parent's patience. It's part of growing up and it's part of your personal development.

I want to remember, and I want to teach you, that just because someone does something that's less than ideal, that doesn't neccessarily make them a bad person. There are bad people in the world, but not everyone that makes a bad decision is a bad person. When I'm upset with you, I really do hope I remember to seperate your actions from who you are as a person. If I ever say you're bad, then I apologize now. If I ever called you bad, I was wrong and I was bad for saying so. You are not a bad person, Baby; and if I ever say you are, you have every right to tell me I'm wrong!

Lastly, I want to remember to let you say "No". So many parents tell their children to never say "no" to them. That is probably one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make! When children grow up always getting in trouble for disagreeing with their parents, they have a hard time saying "no" to anyone when they're older. It can result in a lot of bad things happening to them. You are definitely allowed to tell me "no". In fact, I encourage it. I want you to voice when you're happy with something and when you're not happy with something. Just remember, though, just because you say "no" to me about a decision I've made, doesn't mean you're going to get your way. In the end, I'm the Mommy, so if I say it's time for bed and you say "no", it's still time for bed!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Dear Baby,

You're such a superstar! After only two days of trying, you're now able to get your hand to your toys on your bouncy chair all by yourself everytime you try! You're so thrilled with yourself! You love to sit in the chair and smack at the toys so they move back and forth over your head. You watch them until they stop, then you smack them again. Mommy and Daddy are so proud, and I think you're proud of yourself too!

Also, I'd like to report that you are one super happy baby. You smile and laugh all the time; and for the last week, you've laughed or giggled in your sleep at night every night. This makes me and Daddy so thrilled. I guess we're doing a good job providing for you. I'm so happy that you're so happy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tummy Time

Dear Baby,

Today we had "Tummy Time". You're still very small, so I lay down, propped up a little, and hold you tummy down on my chest for now. We had a happy Tummy Time. At one point you kicked your little foot, and I said "Oh, are you kicking your foot?" I guess you thought you were in trouble because you started to fuss a little. I said, "No, no. It's ok. Those are your little toes. You can do whatever you want with your little toes." You liked that and did your silent laugh; so I said, "That's right. Those are Hailey's toes. Hailey can do anything she wants with her little toes." You smiled.

We cuddled and I talked to you and you had lots of smiles. Tummy Time was a success.

On another note, you're still a super smart baby. You're now able to identify when you're hungry versus when you just want to suck for comfort. When you want to suck, but you're not hungry, you squish your lips tightly together when Daddy or I offer you the bottle. When we switch and try your Choochee, you open your mouth just enough to slip the Choochee inside. When you're hungry, though, you'll open your mouth wide for the bottle. This makes it very easy for Daddy and I to learn the difference between your "I'm Hungry" cry and your "Choochee, please" cry.

Also, I was worrying that you weren't gaining any weight since you came home, but you definitely are. Just yesterday, Daddy and I found out that you're too big for your Preemie diapers now. You now wear full-term newborn diapers. Good growing!!

One more thing: Your bouncy chair is probably the best $30 Daddy and I have ever spent. You love it! We call it your Princess Throne. You love to sleep in it during the day, all tucked in with your blanket. Your Throne is in the Living Room, where Mommy and Daddy can keep an eye on you, but still do things around the apartment. You like having the TV on in the background for the happy noises. You're also already trying to reach for the toys that hang down on your Throne. You've been successful in connecting your hand to them once or twice. This is good progress in developing your eye-hand coordination. Daddy and I are impressed!

You're doing very well, Baby. Everyone is so happy that you're finally home, including you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Dear Baby,

It's been about four days since you've been home. The first couple nights were rough. You must have been overwhelmed, because your feeding schedule got all messed up. In fact, there really wasn't a "schedule" to speak of. You ate completely random amounts at completely random times. You didn't sleep much the first night; which means neither did Daddy or me. But that's ok. Daddy and I took turns letting the other sleep. I took the night shift, because I'm a night owl anyway; and just as I was beginning to get too exhausted to function, Daddy woke up and took over. Daddy and I are a great team!

Luckily it was Daddy's weekend when you came home, and luckily you settled in really quickly. Now you're back to a somewhat regular feeding schedule and you sleep for long periods of time (which is good, because a human can only grow and develop when asleep). The nurse at the NICU was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with your feeding demands, so she slipped me a case of premixed formula. She didn't need to worry. In just the last couple days, my milk supply has doubled! I'm definitely keeping up.

The only kink in our plans that remains is that you don't like to sleep in your crib for very long right now. I totally understand though. You were in Mommy's womb for almost seven months. Then you were in the little incubator for a few weeks. Now you've been in the little cots at the hospital for a few weeks. You're used to sleeping in small spaces. Your crib is absolutely beautiful, but it's quite large (especially compared to your tiny body). So, despite what all the "experts" say, I bring you into bed with me for most of the night. I try to put you to bed in your crib after each feeding, but most of the time you howl until I bring you back out and cuddle you.

Luckily for us, I don't move in my sleep. Whatever position I fall asleep in, is the exact same position I wake up in. Daddy moves around a lot though; so I hold you against my chest, with you facing outwards so your breathing is nice and clear, with my back to Daddy. I make sure I have my arm around you to hold you in place, and I make sure your neck is straight so you can breathe easily.

All the experts and all the books advise against this, but they don't know you. I read the "Tao of Motherhood" recently, and it's really helped put things in perspective. Each baby is different. Each parent is different. Therefore the "best" thing to do for each new family is different. I don't feel bad for bringing you into bed with me, even if the books disagree, because I know you're safe and I know you'll sleep better this way. I feel the highest authority on what's right for a child is his/her mother's own intuition.

Baby books nowadays are good at stressing that each baby is an individual, but then they go on to give generic advice and claim it's what's best for all babies. Those two statements seem contradictory to me. So, I've decided to just do what our "bond" tells me is right to do, and to hell with all the so-called "experts". The only people that are experts at raising you are you, me and your Daddy!

I hope more mothers start listening to their intuition, instead of raising their babies "by the book". I also hope more mothers read the "Tao of Motherhood". Not only did it make me feel better about my decisions regarding you, but it helped me feel less stressed and more serene about being a mommy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Best Day Ever!

Well, that was fast! Just a couple days ago, I wrote to you about how you were coming home soon. Well, I went to the NICU yesterday morning and was told that you'd be coming home today! You have no idea how thrilled Daddy and I are! It feels like Christmas!!

You passed your carseat test with flying colours. You didn't even fuss one bit; you just sat there happily looking around the room. A lot of babies find the car seat uncomfortable or scary (because it's new) and will cry hysterically. Not you! You're so ready to come home.

You've also created your own feeding schedule already. Instead of drinking the 60mL every three hours that the nurses were giving you, you prefer to drink about 90mL every four hours instead. This helps me out, because it means the pumping schedule I've already created for myself ensures that there's always at least two feedings worth of milk available for you.

I hope you're just as happy at home as you seem to be in the NICU. I find myself amazed at what a "Dream Baby" you've been so far. You don't cry hysterically, like most babies, until your needs are met; and, when you do fuss or cry, you calm down almost immediately once I start talking quietly to you and stroke your hair or pick you up. You're a surrpisingly mellow, easy to please, little girl! Even the nurses said that you constantly surprise them with how content you always are. The only time you ever cried like a baby normally does (loud and inconsolable for a while) was when you were still having tummy problems, and you had an enormous amount of gas that needed to be passed. Since too much gas can cause actual pain, I'm not surprised that you cried that hard until you had passed it! Besides that one episode, you always seem to be at peace.

There's a lot of mothers who swear they have a "psychic"-like bond with their babies. These mothers know what their baby needs almost instantly without having to analyze the type of crying their babies are doing or their body language, etc. Some mothers even know, without being in the same room or having the baby make any noise, when their baby is awake. I've never heard of a baby having that same bond with its mother and responding to that bond! Babies only have the capacity to recognize their own needs, and whether or not those needs are being met. They certainly don't (can't) realize that there's other people who have their own needs and that they can effect those people's moods by meeting or not meeting those people's needs.

You, however, are different. It's like you know what makes Daddy and me happy or content, and you do what you can to ensure we're fulfilled as well. You know we love it when you smile, so you smile all the time and even laugh. You seem to have picked up that I was struggling to keep up with your feedings, so you've made yourself a feeding schedule that gives me an opportunity to keep up with your tummy. You are constantly blowing my mind with how mature you are, Baby! You aren't just a gift, or even just a miracle, you are indescribable.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Dear Baby,

Today I went to the NICU to drop off bottles and spend time with you (Daddy would have come too, but he works today). When I got there, your nurse gave me some amazing news! You no longer have to have your vitals monitored, which means we took the ECG/Respiration/Oxygen Level feeds off of you. You also are feeding orally for all your feedings now, which means we got to take that nasty feeding tube out. You hate the feeding tube; and, despite the fact that it's taped to your face, you somehow manage to pull it out often. Now you don't have to have it anymore!

Also, you no longer are on any medication, including the fortifier we had to add to my breastmilk to help you grow.

The nurses are feeding you "on demand" now, which means they wait until you wake up hungry to feed you, and they let you drink as much or as little as you want.

I can't believe that you're going to be home very soon. Mommy and Daddy are hoping you'll be discharged by Thursday morning at the latest. That way we can bring you to the Nan's house for Thanksgiving dinner! If that happens, I'm not going to tell the Nan's: Daddy and I will just show up with you as a surprise!

The nurse said that all the nurses and doctors are surprised by how fast you've matured. Apparently they've never seen a baby progress as fast as you. I am so thrilled and so proud! Daddy is too!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Big Girl On The Inside

Dear Baby,

You seem to think that you're a full term baby. You have no idea that you're just a tiny, two month premature, little girl. You're still just over a month from your original due date, yet you're developmentally on par (and, in some areas, surpass) full term babies. I guess you're only premature in the physical sense. I don't know why, but this is most apparent to me when I'm watching you (this tiny baby) suck as vigorously as any full term baby on a choochee that's too big for you.

Daddy and I are proud of how smart and mature you are!

Also, you just had your first growth spurt ever. Just last week you had finally reached the 5lbs mark. Today you're more than 6lbs 4oz. I guess you're catching up to the full term babies as well now!


Daddy Says: "Hi, Baby! I love you, and I'll do anything I can to make you happy!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Adorable Daddy

Dear Baby,

Today Daddy and I were watching TV together after we got home from visiting you at the NICU. A Tim Horton's commercial came on where a daughter had just moved away from her parent's, and her parents were in town to see her new place. The father kept pointing out all the flaws about his daughter's new place and the town she was in. Eventually they went to Tim Horton's.

While the father was paying, the mother confided to the daughter that her dad really misses her. Then the father joins them at the table, and the daughter told him to "never stop visiting". The father replied, "I miss you too."

Right after the commercial ended, your Daddy waved it away and said, "No. Bad Tim Horton's. No." I looked over and saw that he was all teary-eyed. He was thinking about when you move out, and it made him sad. I giggled a bit, because you're not even home from the hospital yet.

Isn't Daddy cute?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Dear Baby,

I'm thrilled, but also a little surprised. When some of the parents whose babies are in the NICU walk by and look at you, instead of smiling and continuing on to see their own child, they stop and stare.

Then they start remarking on how beautiful/adorable/cute you are. This is great, and I completely agree with them, but it's a little surprising that they seem to forget about their own babies for a second when they're in your presence! Even the parents with baby's that are sickly or struggling to keep their vitals in a normal range will stop to fawn over you! One couple even said you're perfect, and I couldn't agree more.

Unlike a lot of other preemies, you're in perfect proportion. You look like a regular, healthy newborn just shrunk down about 25%. You're obviously the prettiest baby in the NICU!