June 29, 2011

Sleepless in Washington

When Emilu came home with us she wasn't staying asleep.  She also cried so loud I was afraid she would get a hernia.  With the help of our pediatrician we realized she was hungry.  Breastfeeding clearly wasn't enough, so we had to introduce formula with a dropper.  But when she turned 5 weeks, she decided she didn't like to sleep on her back.  She wouldn't stay asleep for five minutes.  We tried the side position, we propped pillows around her but nothing worked.  Then one day, I placed her on her tummy and she slept for four hours straight!  Since then she has been staying asleep for longer.  Babies need their rest, they need to sleep 3-4 hour stretches in REM for brain development. Do I worry about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?  Yes, some.  But the statistics are so low and the evidence so sparse, I prefer her brain to develop healthy and strong. Besides I'm always policing her sleep and naps. During my mother's time, the tummy position was prevalent.  It was believed that babies could choke on their own spit-up if they were on their backs. For those of you that have children did you ever placed them on their tummies?  I would love to hear what you think was best for you.   

New Issue of High Gloss Magazine

The Summer issue of High Gloss magazine is here.  Check it out.

June 28, 2011

Take the coffee, leave the sweet

I have always been adamant about not buying coffee in Starbucks.  Years ago when SB locations started to spread like urban viruses across the US, I was among the few that resisted the homogenized appeal of this coffee chain.  But since moving to DC a few years ago, I found myself, unwillingly at first, buying and enjoying coffee products from SB.  It started as a convenience when my husband and I took monthly trips to NYC to visit my newly uprooted brother.  We would start off at SB early in the morning and stock up on coffee and enjoy the 4-hour drive with our engines filled with the caffeinated goodie.  However, the downside of SB has always been their sweets. They have never been able to pull it off.   No matter which way the trend in sweets may sway, be it cupcakes, sweet pops or french pastry darlings, they will never achieve the right combination of taste and pop that sets shops unique.  It's a case of the look-pretty but taste-awful symptom that has always been the norm.  Their beautifully arranged front store fridges assorted with eye-catching sweets are nothing but, well, pretty.

But I caved in and yesterday afternoon, Emilu and I took a stroll with Piki to the SB near our house.  I bought an espresso, my usual drink and couldn't resist the beautiful cake pops displayed in the fridge.  So I bought one.  Huge mistake.  It was uneatable.  Next time I know better.  Take the coffee, leave the sweet. Much like leave the gun take the cannoli.

The offending sweet

June 24, 2011


I love Serena & Lilly signature collections for children.  It's exactly the kind of design I would choose for themed looks.  But the one I like the most is the Cabin Life look for boys.  I have always loved the idea of unisex rooms for children with no particular gender assigned decor.  The rustic feel of this room and the accessories feels very worldly and becoming for any kid.

June 23, 2011

A piece of Summer

Emilu and I went to Target today to stock on cleaning supplies and wandering the aisles we ended up at the outdoor entertainment section.  The bursting colors of Summer were just too awesome to ignore.  It reminded me of that movie Spanglish and their beach front/vacation home.  Although their awesome California style residence was very nice too. You can visit the homes at Hooked on Houses, a fun website that provides house junkies a fix of the most beautiful homes on the screen as well as tours of celebrities' homes. 
The Malibu Beach House, Spanglish, 2004
I took pictures of some of the shelves filled with outdoor accessories.  I had to be fast because Emilu started crying because she doesn't like her stroller that much.  She needs to be entertained all the time, like her mother.

I dream of a nice backyard in the future where the family can spend quality time.  Meanwhile I love the pretty designs out there.

June 22, 2011

The Fledgling Sparrow

Yesterday evening we found a small sparrow, a fledgling to be more precise, a few steps from our front door.  I had seen it earlier hopping the steps that lead down to our apartment door.  I thought she was just playing because it was extremely hot yesterday.  Then I noticed that its small legs were stuck with something.  I wanted to help her. But last time I tried to help a small featherless baby bird it died.  I thought I was rescuing it and clearly its parents were just trying to get her back in the nest.  So this time, I just stood there watching and praying that no one stepped on her. 

When my husband came home he brought a box to help her inside and make sure her legs were free to move.  He discovered she had a twig stuck in her feet and removed it.  Then he placed her outside again and then I watched how two other sparrows descended on her and tried to feed her.  She was still a baby, needing to be mouth-to-mouth fed.  We had no clue what was going on, then my clever husband searched online, thank God for the age of flash information, and realized that it was a "fledgling" that was clearly learning how to fly.  It takes them about two days to master this skill and their parents don't abandon them completely.  So the thing was to keep her away from night predators while she spent the night outside.  When night came and I had finished putting Emilu to bed around midnight I went to check on her.  She was on the small landing on our neighbor's door, tucked in the corner, sleeping peacefully.  What a sight!  So I wrote our neighbor a note and slipped it inside her door to be careful when stepping out early in the morning because the fledgling had taken refuge at her doorstep.

And this morning when I woke up around 7 a.m. I went out to check on her.  She had visitors, her parents I assume, and she was chirping and hopping her way through the front yard of our building.  How sweet was that!  She had reached a milestone and her parents had helped achieved that.

Lesson learned here:  We all have to go through our milestones and at the start of life our parents' help is paramount in achieving this.  Emilu, my soon-to-be fledgling, I hope we can be a great toolbox for your early achievements.  

June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice

Today was the longest day of the 2011 calendar year.  That's because it was the beginning of Summer or the Summer Solstice.  In the Northern Hemisphere this means daylight will be longest.  In the Arctic Circle, the Summer Solstice lasts 24 hours.  Isn't that fascinating?  And speaking of the Arctic Circle, I highly recommend a poignant love story in a film called Lovers of the Arctic Circle by Julio Medem.

What did Emilu and I do today?  Well, nothing that exhuberant for sure.  We spent the day taking naps and doing a few things around the house.  Then we ventured out when my husband returned from work.  This picture was taken at 8:30 p.m. in our neighborhood, see how bright it still was outside?

I hope you had a great Summer Solstice.  To see pictures around the world click here.

June 18, 2011

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all my daddy friends.  I will be making sweet crepes for breakfast for my husband , who happens to be a new father to our 6 week old daughter.  Among the things that make him a good dad are the way she cuddles in his chest with no care in the world, how he wakes up during the night to burp her after she eats no matter the long work day ahead, and how she knows his voice and follows it with her eyes.  Dads are special. Love you dad!

June 7, 2011

On Breastfeeding

They say breastfeeding is one of the most rewarding experiences of motherhood.  They also say newborns can breastfeed all day long if you let them.  There is some truth to that.  When Emilu was born, as soon as she was cleaned and brought to me I put her on my breast and she immediately latched on.  Isn't a wonder how she and many other babies can do that without ever practicing at all!

There she was sucking in all the colostrum that she could get into her stomach.  I was in heaven.  The two days at the hospital were spent like this.  Breastfeeding and sleeping.  Yes, she actually slept!  By the time I left the hospital, my milk hadn't arrived, but I was still feeding her colostrum or very little milk and my nipples had gone through hell.  They hurt, they cracked open and they were swollen. Was it supposed to be this way?  I was so disheartened and scared.

I dreaded the days ahead.  Not the lack of sleep, not the fear of caring for a newborn, not even the drop in hormones was mood-altering.  And speaking of hormones,  the breastfeeding hormones Prolactin and Oxytocin,  held me together through thick and thin, through the hellish nights of nipple pain and wails of hunger from my baby girl. Finally, day four arrived and the milk was finally letting down.  The next two weeks were the most trying of my life.  I struggled with her increasing feeding needs, loss of sleep and constant pain.  I was applying lanolin after every feed and couldn't even graze my chest with plain clothes.  And when I thought I was in the verge of a breakthrough, Emilu hit a growth spurt at 3 weeks she demanded more time and more frequency at the breast.  My healing nipples were again sore and that's when I finally had it and introduced a couple of bottles of formula a day.  It was the best decision of my short motherhood life. Only then was she able to rest longer and sleep more often.  She was finally full!

Of course, I was a bit disappointed that I was not able to feed her exclusively from the breast.  She now drinks 1-3 bottles of formula a day. We all know the emphasis this culture has on breastfeeding, even though half of all moms give it up by month 3.  Then I realized that it wasn't so bad.  My lifestyle and my own perspective has made me realize that a combination of breast and formula (6:2 or 5:3) is much better than no breast at all.  Because of this decision I feel more confident as a mother.  After all, I soon go back to work and the transition will be much better for both of us. 

This choice has also made me enjoy more and even look forward to breastfeeding her.  I love watching her gestures while she's at the breast.  I caress her head and her arms, massage her little toes and feet and emboss myself with an aura of intimacy.  I also love how I feel when I breastfeed her. The hormones are still pretty active in my system, allowing me to reap the physical and emotional benefits of love beyond words.

June 3, 2011

Back from Hiatus

It's been over a month since I last posted here.  And before things become blurry I will begin posting about my experience as a new mom.  Yes, that's right. Emma  Lucia was born on Mother's Day, May 8th at 1:54 p.m.  Since then I have struggled with all kinds of emotions and tasks which have transformed my perspective on motherhood.

Emilu is almost a month old and we are still trying to find a schedule of feedings and sleeping.  She's not a good sleeper but boy does she loves to eat!  She can be at my breast 24/7 if I let her, but we all know this is not practical, even if the new age motherhood movement out there says otherwise.  The same goes for cosleeping.  I find it very practical and helpful but is this right?  I'm learning as I go, and so the upcoming posts will be about my experience dealing with a baby.

So stay tuned and come back soon to read Emma Lucia's birth story, which turned out to be something totally different than what we planned for and how we dumped our birth plan and felt good about it.

See you soon.