The Guilt

IMG_1850fWhy do I always feel guilty? Why do I always feel that I am not doing enough? Why do I always think that the grass is always greener on the other side? As we approach the six month-mark of exclusive breastfeeding (so proud of myself), and four sharp teeth, I am contemplating the idea of changing things up. I have discussed about potentially getting a pump with some of you, and still haven’t. I am beyond exhausted. I have lost an amazing amount of weight (which is great, don’t get me wrong, but I feel weak), my nipples are sore, and I am just not enjoying it as much. We are still co-sleeping, and she still nurses frequently at night.

I feel the need to mention that I am writing this post during a growth-spurt and therefore, I am very sensitive about the issue. After a couple nights of constant nursing, I am ready to tackle tonight but I can’t help and wonder: Have I hit rock bottom? Is this it? Can I keep going like that for a few more months?

One part of me wants to stop breastfeeding and feels extremely guilty for not wanting to continue to do what is best for my daughter. And the other part of me wants the best for me (mentally and physically speaking). It is just me and the girls 24/7 most of the times as my husband works away, and although we have family here, I care for them exclusively. I dream of a day off. I feel bad about it but it would make me feel so good – walking around, light and free. I would sleep in, read an entire book, window-shop without the stress of being as quick as possible so that my babies aren’t too cranky by the end of it, create, paint, do nothing.

What does it have to do with breastfeeding? Yes, good point. Well, I feel like I am losing myself. I don’t want to be cranky anymore because my child bites me when I feed her. I don’t want to be cranky because I don’t have time for myself in the evening. I don’t want to be cranky because I don’t have uninterrupted sleep. But when she is in her own bed, I can’t find sleep because I miss her.

My first baby drank formula when she turned 2 months old. I wanted the best for her. And I want the best for the new baby. But I know more. I have grown as a parent, and a mother, and it is hard to ignore the simple facts. Breast is best. It is not going to damage her – Sixtine is a beautiful toddler, but I can’t quite tell myself: “Oh, I am tired, I’ll just give her formula. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t best for her.” Pumping would be ideal. Unfortunately, it takes up so much time and energy – I am afraid it might make things even more complicated than they are now.

I am at a complete loss.

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Do It Yourself: Montessori Dancer Mobile

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Mobiles seem to be a baby registry essential. I didn’t have one for Sixtine – never even thought of it – and felt quite bad about it after the fact. My friend Rachael  offered me a Gobbi for Sixtine when she was a little over 5 months I believe but I lived in France at the time, she did not have a nursery/room for herself and I thought I would wait until I’d get home. I am sure that it doesn’t matter now but I wanted to make sure that our second child would get a lot of hanging material to look at and observe. I like how you can make up for what you think are “past mistakes” when you have a second baby (or third, or fourth…!).

The Dancer Mobile is a four-part mobile and is about 6.5 inches high. Each dancer is made of a three-part body, which allows for movement. It is introduced at the age of 3/4 months and promotes concentration and hand-eye coordination.

Material:

  • Fishermen’s string
  • Black paper (you may want to use a different color)
  • Metallic paper (you may use a different color)
  • Wooden dowels (10″, 12″ – and a 14″ if you do it like me)
  • Twine (if you hang it my style, otherwise you won’t need it)
  • X-acto knife or scissors
  • Glue
  • Copy paper
  • Safety pin

Instructions:

  • Resize to 7 inches, print and cut out shapes in black and metallic paper.
  • You can use this template from 60 activites Montessori pour mon bebe by Marie-Helene Place.
    dancer
  • Glue them together.
  • Using a thick safety pin or needle, poke holes.
  • Tie string.
  • Hang two dancers on the smallest dowel and two others on the medium-sized dowel.
  • Hang them both on the largest dowel using clear thread or fishermen’s string.
  • You are all done.

Moment of honesty:

It didn’t look like much but it took longer than expected to get this done. You might need to make changes accordingly. I poked more holes than the template suggested and I didn’t hang the dowels as the book suggested either. I did what felt natural to me. Instead of using a third dowel, I managed to tie the two dowels together. It didn’t prevent Victoire from enjoying her mobile. In fact, it was so appealing that her sister, Sixtine, enjoyed it too much and dismounted it. It was heartbreaking…and since I didn’t have the heart to put it all back together, my husband did it – with his own touch.

Let me see how yours turns out! 

If you are new here, welcome to Sixtine et Victoire! Why not join us on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, or Etsy – whatever your heart desires!

Do It Yourself: Montessori Grasping Beads

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This beautiful infant toy was made with love by myself. It was really easy to make and didn’t require tools or too many materials. I used 5 medium-sized wooden beads and leather cord. Thread, tie, thread, tie. Pretty straight-forward.

This toy is usually introduced at around 3 months when baby starts reaching for objects and has more control of her hands/self-awareness. It can also be used as a teether a later time.

I just love wooden toys, aren’t they beautiful?

Baby Sign Language: Mastering Eat and Milk!

Baby sign language is a way to teach infants how to communicate using hand gestures. Hand gestures are easier for a baby than controlling their vocal chords. Using sign language enables your baby to start communicating about six months earlier than if you were just relying on speech. Being able to sign accelerates your baby’s progress to words as well. Studies show that signing babies develop larger speaking vocabularies than their non-signing counterparts.

As well as giving parents a way to start communicating with their baby earlier, baby sign language makes the baby’s life easier too. Being able to tell you what is on her mind gives your baby a little more control over her life, reducing frustration and the resulting fussiness. Many signing babies seem to skip the terrible twos stage and sail smoothly into toddler hood!               Read more here.

My daughter signed “milk” today. I knew she was very close to mastering it as she knew exactly what we meant when we signed it and would get very excited, and look everywhere for it but I didn’t expect to be such proud mum! She is now able to sign “eat” and “milk” and does a great job!

At first, signing wasn’t something I was really interested in. It wasn’t familiar to me, I didn’t know anyone in my entourage who had done it in the past, and didn’t really see a need for it. My husband was really interested in it however, so I decided to my research and decide if this is something I would like to do for our child. I also had the opportunity to meet with another mum later in time who had had great results with her own daughter and the more I read about it, the more sense it made.

We have been very consistent but I have to confess that I didn’t really think she would ever sign back. Well, not that I don’t trust her abilities but let’s say that I didn’t have high expectations. At the present time, we are using “eat”, “milk”, “hurt” and “bird” (I know, random but she loves birds) as well as “more” and “all done”. Now that she masters eat and milk, I want to focus more on “more” and “all done” as this is something that would be really useful (although she shakes her head when she is done so I take it as a “no more”).

I should add that my research mainly consisted (and I realize the choice of word was a tad strong) in reading about the benefits and checking out some signs. I may not be doing it the right way but it is working and everyone’s happy.

I think it might help with her bilingualism as well as my husband and I both use ASL (American Sign Language). She knows that MILK and LAIT means the same.

Have you ever been interested in signing? Would you recommend it? Please share your experience! Thank you!

A Christening in Paris

We decided to baptize our daughter a while ago and thought it would be nice for our French family to do it in Paris, since they missed the wedding and the birth of the baby! The great thing was that I was able to celebrate in style with great French boutiques and shops! I was absolutely delighted by My little day and Chez Bogato! You can use all these for other type of celebrationszaQ

Absolutely amazing hopscotch Christening cake by Chez Bogato,  7 rue Liancourt, Paris 14eme.

You can ask them absolutely anything. Anais Olmer will get in touch with you and you can discuss your wants and needs. She is very nice to work with. They then surprise you with something beautiful! I want to add that the cake not only looked amazing, but it tasted really good. 

Vintage-inspired party favors for the kids by My little day, online boutique.

My little day is a beautiful site with great products to make wonderful parties for children. If you like pretty little things and are young at heart, you might go crazy and decide to buy everything. My little day will make any party planning, a piece of cake! Dorothee and Gabriella are really friendly and very helpful so go check out their shop and let me know what you think!

Moelleux au chocolat nuage and cupcakes stars by Chez Bogato as well. 

Delicious, pretty and cute. What else to say? Chez Bogato is a very small shop/bakery located near Montparnasse in Paris. They also sell sugar cookies, and almost anything edible can be customized. You will also find vintage items such as candies, and kitchen accessories. I am in love!

Recyclable party favor – flower seed kits by recycledideas, Etsy shop.

I really wanted to do something different than sugared almond. To me, they are dreadful. So I looked for something innovative and discovered those flower seed kits while searching on Etsy. I was immediately convinced that they would make great party favors for adults. They were really easy to put together, earth friendly, and I was able to pick the shape of the seeds (sheeps), the colors (ivory, white, and beige), and what I wanted on the little leaflet (name, date, etc…). I am really happy with my choice and I think my guests were pleasantly surprised as well! 

Balloons, glass milk, striped straw, place mat and napkins by My little day.

Did I say it was the best party boutique ever? In the world? 

Invitations by Simply Stunning Stationery, Etsy Shop.

These invitations came all the way from Australia to France. I would have rather order from France for earth-friendly reasons but they were so beautiful that I couldn’t refrain myself and purchased them. Rachel is a lovely Australian lady and she was very nice! 

And last but not least, little Miss Sixtine, wearing her beautiful vintage baby bonnet by 4PennyGirl, Etsy shop.

Her Toy Story

  1. Plastic globe that rolls and rolls!
  2. Purple wooden crocheted teether by mjolkig
  3. Bunny wooden teether by little woodlanders
  4. Teething toy with crochet chocolate, coral, and teal wooden beads and two wooden rings. Wooden rattle by nihamaj
  5. Wooden rattle Rollo by Haba
  6. Pull and Push beads toy
  7. Wooden rattle by Haba
  8. Oball rattle
  9.  Bidiboo Animals Rattle by Janod

I bought number 7 a few days ago for a very excited baby! My mum said she had far enough toys. I honestly don’t think that Sixtine owns a lot of toys per se and apart from books, I very rarely get her any. I absolutely love wooden toys as they are so pretty and safe for baby! They also give room for imagination!

However, Sixtine has been crawling for a bit now and she favorites everyday life objects to toys. She still has a thing for books and she is now showing actual interest in them. Whenever we sit to read, she keeps still and carefully touches the book we are reading, listening to each and every words. She even laughs at times, to express how much fun she is having.

I usually pick a few toys for the week and put some away so that she doesn’t get bored! But I think she is now readi-er than ever for a treasure basket and I am excited to see how she will approach them!

What is or what was your baby’s favorite toy and why? 

An Empowering Feeling

In the first few months of her life, I wondered whether my baby loved me and if she knew I was her mother.

And then one day, as I was leaving the room, letting her in the care of my family, she cried because she wanted me. When I got back, a few minutes later, she crawled towards me as if her life depended on it, wrapped her arms around my ankle, and made sounds expressing she wanted me.  I melted and felt so empowered. It made me feel that I was doing something right.

Now that we can interact more, she doesn’t cease to amaze on the many ways she chooses to express her love to me.

It may sound silly to say that my heart is happy, that my baby loves me but eh!

Growing So Fast

Where did time go?

This morning, my daughter held her own bottle during the entire feeding.  She started showing interested into holding very early but never really did it. I was very proud of her.

After lunch, Sixtine and I went to the living room to play. Now, that she is mobile and can go anywhere she pleases, she loves to be on the go and gets into everything. She especially enjoys going under tables or pulling out DVDs out of the TV stand.

And then, with my help, she stood up while holding onto the coffee table. She tried to move her little feet, so she could grab something she really wanted (the remote – I don’t know about your baby but Sixtine loves everything black, and high-tech/ remotes, cell phones, cables, cameras…you name it).

And then it hit me.I took her in my arms, held her and said: “you are growing so fast little lady.”

It is funny how you are so looking forward to your baby reaching the next milestones and then wonder where your newborn has gone the next day !

Her Big Brown Eyes

Green Parenting l 10 “Biotiful” Ways Of Raising Your Baby

I was naturally inclined to use mostly eco-friendly, natural, and chemical-free products for baby long before she was born. Here is a list of ten things you could do to bio-tify your baby.

  • Diapers. They produce so much waste that they had to be on the top of the list. Cloth diapering would be the greener option but for those of you who can’t or don’t want to cloth diaper, eco-friendly diapers are  better than big brand names. They are free of many of chemicals and work just as well as their counterparts. We do both and it works wonders for us. Sixtine has never had a rash since she was born and we don’t use any ointment.
  • Wipes. Even the milder wipes are very irritating for the skin of your baby. You could make your own baby lotion and use cloth wipes, or if you are like my husband and like things to be practical, get scent-free, chlorine-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free wipes. I have used several brands (Naty, Seventh Generation,…) but my favorites are the NatraCare which are just the best. “They are free from detergents such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) or any of its close relatives, parabens, SHG and other types of formaldehyde releasing preservatives.” They are very efficient, smell naturally delicious and leave Sixtine’s bum moisturized and softened.
  • Baby products. Wash. Shampoo. Balm. I know times are hard but don’t let yourself bribed by big brand name companies and check the labels of your baby’s products. You will be surprised to see how many toxic chemicals are in them. I use products such as Lüsa organics, Dimpleskins and I am always on the look for new natural products.
  • Food. Many store-bought meals (ie.jars) contain lots of preservatives, thickening, salt, and sugar that your children don’t need. They also don’t taste as good as a real homemade meal so why take the chance? If you don’t have time to cook, then look for organic products are they are a much healthier and tastier option for your baby.
  • Clothing. Organic cotton, pure cotton and bamboo are the best for your babies’ skin. I like my daughter to look nice and unfortunately, organic clothing is expensive and not always very fashionable which is why I only buy them in onesies. They are the closest to her skin; she looks nice on the oustide and (I like to think) feels wonderful inside.
  • Detergent. Babies are messy, the real kind ! They go through a lot of clothes and if you are cloth diapering, you can double or triple the number of laundry a week.  A great brand we use is Rockin Green Laundry Detergent, you can also use other eco-friendly detergent that will respect baby’s sensitive skin and Mother Nature. Another great option would be soap nuts  which are suitable for the most sensitive skin and are organic and vegan.

  • Check your labels always and refer to EWG, Environment Working Group, (“works to protect kids from toxic chemicals in our food, water, air and the products we use every day.”) to find out if your products are safe and compare them.
  • Natural play. Outdoors, wooden toys, homemade playdough, flower and leaves picking…, they are a lot of natural ways of playing that are non-toxic and will bring a lot more to your children than some over-stimulating toys. Be crafty and creative !
  • Bring Earth awareness to your home. If Mummy and Daddy are respectful to the Earth, baby will as well.
  • Now tell us. How Biotiful is your baby? Please share your tips on to raise an eco-friendly baby !

Finally, I know that it is not always possible to get the greener option (financial, location, or even lack of knowledge on the subject) and I am still learning everyday. I think the more important is to try and get informed. I am lucky to have a few green-oriented friends who have been very helpful in the process and I will be happy to answer questions to the best of my abilities or direct you to someone who would know.