Tag Archives: 80

Our bike setup


We got a hand-me-down iBert bike seat (thaaaaaank you A+S+J).

Most people biking with a kid have the seat that attached to the back of the bike. There’s also the trailer that sits on it’s own wheels, down on the ground behind the bike. Our front-attached bike seat is much rarer. It’s a newer design, and there are grumblings that it’s not as safe — though I disagree.

I’m not an expert. I’m not sure who would be the most qualified to speak to the safety of each bike seat, but I can give you my opinions. I’ve been in bike crashes before, and if my bike slides out from under me I’m going to have my hands on my handlebars and be able to have a small amount of control of the front of the bike, and help guide it down. If it’s a head-over-handlebars, I don’t know if either seat is going to be better or worse. That’s where wearing a helmet, long pants, and shoes is important.

In summary, the iBert is the best commuting or street-biking seat style.

The other option I’d consider is the bike trailer:


The safety issue for me is having a trailer down where cars can’t see it. An upside to this kind of trailer is that there’s lots of room (you can put two kids in there), there’s protection against the elements,  and if you were to lose your balance they’d be low to the ground already.

The trailer is a great option if you’re on bike trails, or otherwise not in traffic.

The most popular bike seat I’ve seen is the rear-attached seat:
Bike baby seat test run

I’m not a fan of this seat. It puts the kid level with your ass, so their main view is blocked. It’s also hard to hear them, and you can’t see them without turning around and looking down (which is hard to do and dangerous while biking). They do have a higher back, providing more support for wobbly heads. The downside is some models don’t account for the child wearing a helmet, which means the child’s head is pushed forward and they can’t rest comfortably.

You can get the iBert on Amazon for something like $90, which is the same price as the mid-range rear-attached seat, so I can heartily suggest the iBert.

Here’s a video of Jason and 80 in the seat:

New blog goal: mini milestones


I asked 80 to smile for the picture. My aunt Sharon politely dubbed this her “chipmunk face”.

It seems there are these very consistent benchmarks for babies of the same age, and other milestones that can be very different (new teeth, walking). I make a lot of parenting decisions based on other’s experiences, taking the same/different factor into consideration. I’ve decided to try and blog more of these small observations. On a personal level, they’re really only fun for 80’s family, but this data could be interesting to other new parents.

An observation for today: while playing on the front steps of C+A’s house, 80 discovered hauling both herself and her water bottle up an down. She’d be on one step, and put the bottle on the step above or below. It’s a small thing, but it’s related to manipulating both herself and another object on a multi-level surface.

Staring at 80

I was at the park with a pregnant (for the first time) friend, having a picnic and playing with 80. I found that although we had lots of conversations (and I’m actually quite proud of how I didn’t let them lapse as I paused to tend to 80), I found myself quietly watching 80. I do it a lot, and it didn’t seem odd to just watch 80. I do wonder if Kristen found the contentedly-watching-my-baby thing less comfortable. 80’s *my* baby, so of course I’m the most interested in her. I’m hoping she enjoyed looking at a baby, knowing hers is baking.

Happy birthday, baby chick!

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sundaykofax/5737227736/” title=”DSC_2161 by sundaykofax, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2455/5737227736_934e40392f.jpg” width=”500″ height=”331″ alt=”DSC_2161″></a>

I made a no-sugar apple/applesauce muffin for 80’s birthday. I wanted frosting for a real good mess, but wasn’t sure how to keep the sugar level sane.

Thanks to a delicious lunch as Sofra, I was inspired to blend two parts cooked sweet potato to one part goat cheese. What I ended up with was a very sweet, creamy, almost marshmallow-tasting frosting.

I’m that mom who limits sugar, just like my mother before me. Some day, I’ll compromise on letting 80 have more sugar, by allowing her to eat Smurfberry Crunch on Saturday mornings, just like my mother before me.

The Birth Story (part 5) [and a year later]

This languished as a draft so long, I forgot I hadn’t published it. A year later, here’s what happened to me and my body after I gave birth. Warning, it’s a bit graphic, and my anatomy is discussed.

So, we know 80 ended up in the nursery under observation. One of the reasons why I didn’t freak out was because I was busy with my own minor woes.


Aw, there’s my sweet, cross-eyed baby. I’d like to think she’s making this face on purpose, like someone just asked her “What was being birthed like?”

I’ll remind you that I was stellar at giving birth. I was a champ. One thing I remembered to do was drink a lot of water, keeping myself hydrated. I figured there’d come a point where I wouldn’t want to have anymore, so I really stocked up. Really. I drank a BUNCH of water. This was my undoing, as I forgot to pee. I think it’s because there was so much going on down there, pressure and the like, that I didn’t pee all that water I’d drank.

This didn’t present itself as a problem until after 80’d been born, it was decided that she needed a bit more care (over in the nursery), and the midwife and nurses had time to attend to me. They were concerned that my uterus wasn’t contracting (it’s supposed to), which meant I was still bleeding a lot. They gave me a shot of Pitocin to help my uterus contract down. They felt my abdomen and realized that my bladder was HUGE, and blocking my uterus from shrinking down. I tried to pee, with no luck. I’d experienced this before, where you have to hold it so long it kind of goes on strike and refuses to open for anything.

So, they had to use a catheter, and that’s when the LITER of liquid that was holding up my progress was removed. Whew. The midwife attended to the tiny tears (one internal, and two symmetrical ones between my inner and outer labia) that required a stitch apiece. I was asked if I wanted to see the placenta, to which I said YES. The midwife brought it over, and explained what part was attached to me and what part was attached to 80. She said that it’s the only organ we can generate that is meant to be discarded. She showed me a giant vein on it, that is called “The Tree of Life”, which she said with some reverence. (If you’d like to see my ACTUAL placenta, which shows off the Tree of Life pretty well, click here.) She then told me that I had done an amazing job, I was really strong to have been able to listen to my body and to her, and she was honored to have participated.

I later asked A’Nova if that was the normal cheerleading speech to new moms, and she said no, that I had a particularly smooth birth and not every one can follow the midwife’s coaching (especially when it’s to stop pushing when there’s a baby head half out of you). It’s really hard to not feel overly proud of this, especially since most of my friends have NOT had a smooth birth.

A few hours later, I still couldn’t pee, so they left a cath in overnight so my bladder could get back to sane proportions (note: having the cath applied wasn’t pleasant, but after that it wasn’t much of a bother, and totally worth being able to pee).  My uterus shrank just fine — mama-hormones from nursing help shrink it too, so whenever 80 nursed, I’d feel this warm, low feeling spread across my belly, right under her. It felt awesome. It was ecstasy (also, like Ecstasy). It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had, ever. I experienced similar (but lessened) hits of this when nursing 80 for the first few days. (Your body releases more endorphin when you nurse. I was known to make a just-shot-heroin mmmmmmm noise.)

Once I was in the post-birth recovery room, and saw myself in a mirror, I realized that I had burst blood vessels across my jaw, from pushing so hard.


I also now had a baby on the outside, which left my abdomen looking like I was maybe 6 months pregnant. I was worried about how I’d think about my body, since books warned that I might be disappointed. I wasn’t! I kind of liked my doughy, soft belly. It decreased at a reasonable pace, so I didn’t get too upset about not fitting into pre-pregnancy jeans.

Another thing they just don’t bring up in popular culture portrayals of birth is that you normally bleed for weeks. It doesn’t hurt (it’s was like having a long-ass period), and tapered fairly quickly. The only thing was, I tried cramming myself into pre-preg jeans, then had a liiiiittle more bleeding than usual. Heh. So, don’t do that. Probably not a great idea to smoosh your uterus.

That’s about it for birth-related body stuff. Ask any questions you’d like in the comments and I’ll update to include answers. Ask away, I’m not shy.

Ma-ma po-poker face

I’d read that if you want your child to start saying mama and dada as some of their early words, you need to refer to yourself in the third person (lest they think your name is “I”). Yesterday afternoon, 80 began saying mama like a switch had been flipped. Personally, I think it’s because we were hanging out with Tanya Donnelly, and she inspires awesomeness.

I’ve also read that you child has to say a word three times in a reasonable context (not saying “mama” while pointing at the cat) for it to be a word. 80’s been saying ma-ma more than any other sound in the last 24 hours, and I’m encouraging her of course.

80: “Ma-ma! Ma-ma. Ma-MA.”

Me: “Yes! Yes! Yup, that’s me. That’s right.”

We’ll see if it sticks. Next up: dada. She’s been able to say the “ma” and “da” sounds for a while, so hopefully she picks it up soon.

I mention it in the video, but I swear she said “gesundheit”. Please don’t leave a comment saying it’s unlikely. I realize it’s unlikely, and I also want to mention again that I swear that’s what I heard.

I’m also now singing all the songs I can think of with ma-ma in them. Bohemian Rhapsody (“mama, just killed a man”), Poker Face (ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma ma-ma poker face). Any others I should add to my repertoire?

BLW update

80’s been eating adult food (non-pureed solid food, you sicko) for a month and a half now. It’s taking me a while to figure out BLW. She’d been cramming entire “sticks” of food in her mouth, so I started giving her smaller sticks of food (which works, because she’s gotten the fine motor skills to hold them … mostly). She’d just stick more smaller sticks of food in her mouth, creating the same traffic jam, just in more chokeable chunks. Today I had cut up apple into 1/16th sticks, and left a quarter for myself. I was feeling playful, and offered it to 80 (I bit off the skin around the edges so it wasn’t … so she couldn’t … you know, get a paper cut with the skin. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t happen, but I’m a little short on sleep.)

She LOVED IT. This is what she’s wanted all along. She happily gnawed on the apple (both soft side and skin side) for a good long while. She cried when I took it away (she’d been rubbing her eyes so furiously, I knew we needed to get her cleaned up and on to napping pronto). The look in this picture is her “extreme pleasure” face.

The big lesson is that the baby-led weaning book I love (Baby-Led Weaning: helping your baby to love good food)* really does know what they’re talking about. There’s a picture of a baby nomming on a whole apple, and I thought “yeah, maybe in a few months”.

Also, I remember my friends Abby and Sara having to keep apples on hand at all times, when their son would nom on a whole one for a snack every day. They’d have to keep track, so the chewed-on apple didn’t end up forgotten under his bed, since he took it to play with him all over their house.

The word “apple”, much like the word “fork” will become hilarious as 80 learns to say them, and yet sounds more like she’s swearing a blue streak. Remind me to take a video of her narrating eating an apple with a fork.

*which is now “translated” into American English, so courgette becomes zucchini and spello-tape becomes Scotch tape. One of the authors left a comment here, to let me know.

How to: make baby pants out of a sweater

I went to the thrift store looking for soft wool sweaters to turn into longies (wool pants to go over diapers). The great thing about what I was looking for is that often, crappy sweaters from Old Navy end up getting felted when washed, and then donated to a thrift store. Normally, this means sweaters I have to sort through to find the good ones. In this case, it doesn’t matter! In fact, it could be kind of nice, since the fabric would be denser.

I basically winged this pattern, but it turned out great (and took seriously a half hour to make). I found a turtleneck sweater made of wool and mohair. I cut off the turtleneck, and the bottom of the sleeves.1 I guessed at how long to make the legs — I figured extra long isn’t bad for a baby who has long legs to begin with, and who is crawling (and doesn’t need to worry about stepping on her pants). If I had a walking baby, I’d consider tacking up the cuffs, so I could let them down as she grew.


I sewed the two legs together at the crotch, about 3 inches. I then pinned the legs to the top (using the cut end of the legs and the cut end of the turtleneck), making sure the fabric was even all the way around.2 I sewed all the way around the legs/turtleneck.

Lastly, I folded the top of the turtleneck down 3/4″ and sewed almost all the way around it (with a 1/4″ seam allowance) — leaving a small gap so I could thread elastic through. I adjusted the elastic until it was snug enough to keep the pants up but not to snug as to bother, and sewed the ends of the elastic together, then sewed up the gap in the seam.


1 This meant that I was using finished edges at the top and bottom of the pants, and didn’t have to worry about sewing the seams well enough so they didn’t unravel.
2 Since the turtleneck was ribbed and the legs were stockinette stitch, I had to kind of stretch out the top while pinning the legs. It looked a little bunchy and weird, but looked fine once they were sewn up.

Baby arm warmers

indeed. by sundaykofax, on Flickr” href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sundaykofax/5325523129/”>Tiny thumb hole, indeed.Full credit for this pattern and idea go to Eidolons’s blog post and pattern. Her baby chews sleeves, my baby can’t doesn’t have enough sleeve to chew. Either way, baby arm warms save the day.

80 is a long, tall drink of milk. All of the sleeves of her shirts and onesies are too short. She looks like she’s always heading to a clam dig, wearing three quarter sleeves and capris. Since we live in a northern climate, having bare wrists in winter is not something I’m willing to live with. Thus, the baby arm warmers.

Baby arm warmers!Arm warmers are probably the second-most easy thing to knit (outside of a scarf), and BABY arm warmers are even better because they’re small and are quick to knit. It’s like knitting a hat you don’t have to do any decreases on, and you get to use up small amounts of yarn that are curled up in the bottom of your stash.

I used sport-weight yarn, and did 36 stitches in a k2, p2 rib. The yarn is KnitPicks Stroll in Heath Multi.

I added thumb holes, but they turn out not to be necessary for indoors. I think I’d put the thumbhole in effect if I was then going to put mittens on her.