Sunday, October 18, 2009


It was just under a year ago when we were a little less careful than usual about birth control. My periods had resumed 11 months after River’s birth, I finally had a bit of a sex drive and poor Mark had gone almost a year with fairly low fulfillment. I was still breastfeeding, so I hadn’t chosen a birth control method yet, and there was at least one potential oops moment. At the time, I thought about taking the morning after pill, then decided against it, figuring that we’d deal with whatever came about.

Thank goodness I didn’t get pregnant because that would mean I’d have another baby on my hands at this moment and I’m really glad that I don’t. It would have meant that I couldn’t have started this new job, it would have been extra stress with the house search and it would have pulled a lot of attention away from River, just when I’m very much enjoying spending time with him.

Yesterday I found myself unusually tired, enough so that Mark worked around the house through the afternoon and I took a nap – an unusual reversal of our energy levels. I couldn’t be pregnant, I thought. Then realized that I’d forgotten to put my Nuva Ring back in after temporarily removing it. It can be out for 3 hours a day, but this was closer to 24 hours. Yikes. I also put it in a day late this month, so I think this is officially a whoops.

I starting googling what it means to leave it out for too long and there wasn’t much information out there. If by chance, I could have become pregnant, is putting it back in going to prevent implantation, cause a miscarriage, or just result in a deformed fetus? I don’t really know. But I put it back in anyway because if it lowers the odds of a pregnancy that’s good.

While I could handle a 30-month spacing much better than an 18-month gap, I’m still not ready for a second yet. I just started this job and would like to be able to prove myself and build up some capital before announcing a pregnancy. Things are finally starting to settle down, as I get used to the new job and the new house and all that entails. After a fairly crazy 2009, I’m looking forward to a much calmer 2010, with no major life events planned.

I hope this will turn out to be a Whoops, I was a bit irresponsible moment. And not a Whoops, I have to realign my goals and expectations moment. We’ll see.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Parenting the anxious child

I found this an interesting and well-researched article.

Some of the more interesting points:

-Temperament as a baby tends to remain constant through life, especially for those at the extreme

-The 15-20% of babies who react strongly to novel people or situations are more likely to grow up to be anxious.

-An important factor in controlling anxiety is having something to divert one’s attention – such as an interesting hobby or job

-Those who are anxious and smart might turn out to be better employees

-There doesn’t seem to be clear evidence on how to best parent an anxious child – whether to push greater independence or to accept and acknowledge their fears.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The synapses fire

We had the very exciting experience yesterday of realizing that River
can correctly identify letters in Spanish. I had an inkling this
might be coming when we took a walk a few days ago. When he saw
letters spraypainted on the sidewalk, he’d stop and it seemed he was
trying to read them. I identified each one for him and he was
interested and attentive.

Then, yesterday, he stood in front of the refrigerator, where we has
his Leap Frog letter toy in Spanish (a super toy for ages 1+ by the
way). He said ‘ennay,’ which is N in Spanish.

“Can you find N?” I asked.

He looked at the letters spread across the refrigerator door and
chose the correct one.

A visiting friend said to him, “My name is Dave. It starts with a D.”

“Can you find “De?” I asked him.

And again, he found the correct letter and brought it to Dave.

We tried this a few more times until we were convinced it wasn’t just
chance, he really knows his letters.

This makes me very excited. All evidence of brain synapse connections
excite me. But this one does so especially. Why? Because it’s the
first step towards literacy and reading. And because it shows that
there is a lot more going on in that head than he can express

He has been crazy about books lately, requesting a good 15 storybooks
a day and getting very upset if he’s denied his request. I’m both
happy about this interest and sometimes frustrated. I never thought
I’d refuse to read to my child. But sometimes my voice is tired out
after 6-8 books and I just don’t want to do another.

So far, we haven’t done anything special in our reading. The
babysitter and I read to him in Spanish, Mark and anyone else who
happens to be around read to him in English. He attends the
English-language story (1/2) hour at the library 2-3 times a week and
attends the once weekly Spanish story (1/2) hour when it’s available.

Recently I heard about a technique called print referencing though,
which seems to have positive effects in enhancing preschool literacy.
From what I’ve read (there is an interesting article by Zucker, Ward
and Justice in the September 2009 issue of The Reading Teacher. The
article is titled “Print Referencing During Read-Alouds: A Technique
for Increasing Emergent Readers’ Print Knowledge.”) the technique basically involves pointing out print in the course of reading, by doing things like asking them to find a certain letter in the text, asking where the print or the book starts, asking what could be in the text bubble, saying that we’ll read the traffic signs now,
etc. The article offers quite a few suggestions.

Now that I can see River is interested in text, I think I’ll start
employing some of these techniques. It doesn’t sound like it takes
too much time or effort and if it increases the chances of him being
an earlier reader, all the better. We’re just pleased that he may show
a talent for something beyond eating.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sharing ice cream with my son

Yesterday evening River sat in a cardboard box (that previously held
my newly arrived radio/CD player/ipod dock – yay!). I sat nearby and
we alternated bites of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. One for me,
one for him.

He learned to say the word “helado” (Spanish for ice cream), he seemed
to enjoy the taste, and I felt like we enjoyed a shared happy moment.

As I fed him the (small) bites of ice cream, I thought back to a year
or so before, when I wouldn’t consider giving him sweets. I still
don’t give him many. Mainly when I’m eating them and I don’t think
it’s fair to deny him what I’m enjoying.

But mostly, I think to myself, what if he happened to die in an
accident? How would I feel if I’d never let him experience the joy of
ice cream (to me, it’s one of life’s great joys)? I’d feel horrible.
So, while we still focus on healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle,
I’ve moved off of my early motherhood absolutism and let him revel a
bit in the delicious indulgences of life.