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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Make Your Own Fall Colored and Scented Play Dough

dough

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice (or 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar)
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • food coloring (or any homemade vegetable/fruit juice)

Recipe:

  • Whisk together all the ingredients in a pan
  • Cook over stove on medium heat
  • Remove when the mix starts to harden
  • Stir until ball starts to form
  • Knead dough
  • Separate into different bowls and add food coloring
  • And voila!
  • Ziplock bags will keep them nice and fresh
  • You can also freeze them

I am very happy with the final result! I suggest using more spices than I did for greater smell but I only had cinnamon and it wasn’t very strong. Sixtine couldn’t care less but I would love to see how yours turned out! Oh, and one last tip, to prevent food coloring from staining your hands, I suggest oiling them a little bit.

Recipe adapted from pinterest !

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Toddler Art: Outdoor Painting Fall Fun

fallWe’ve had very bad weather for a few days now, so I couldn’t pass on going outside with the girls this afternoon when the sun came out! I also had painting in mind and thought: why not combine the two? Apron, cardbox, leaves, foam brushes and out the door we went. Victoire was able to watch us in a cozy blanket knitted by my mother and enjoyed it just as much as we did. Sixtine had so much fun! We added some grass, leaves and pretty flowers picked out by little Miss Six’ and painted them as well. We have now a fabulous fall table accent in our kitchen that we cannot wait to show Daddy when he comes home! It was also a great opportunity to work on color discrimination!

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

Toddler Practical Life: Food Preparation

snackprepI want to give Sixtine as much independence as possible. At almost two, doing things for herself is something she craves for. She absolutely loves to watch me cook, and help whenever possible. And so today, I decided to let her use her child-sized knife to make her own snack. She was very excited to spread cream cheese on a piece of bread, and pour water in her glass. She hasn’t mastered spreading in one session but it will come! She has been a wonderful help in the kitchen, making cakes, muffins, and breads, husking corn, and brushing potatoes and carrots! I hope that these will be memories that will last! How proud she was to serve me a snack that she had made herself!

10 Ugly Confessions Of A Mama Of Two Under Two

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  1. One baby stays up late. The other baby gets up early. Do the Maths.
  2. I am seriously tired of changing diapers. I never really cared for it but I consider it a chore now.
  3. I have lost tons of weight. No diet.
  4. I go to sleep long after midnight. Because it is the only me-time I get.
  5. I have reviewed some of my principles. And I guess it is OK for Sixtine to watch TV when I need a break from her to get something done.
  6. I feel like crying at times.
  7. There are no bad hair days, just bad hair lately.
  8. I thought I only wanted one baby, but when I see them interact, I feel that having Victoire was the best gift we could ever give Sixtine.
  9. I never know what day of the week it is.
  10. I miss my young, wild and free days.

I was inspired to write this post after reading a post about Moms’ confessions and it made me feel so good reading their confessions (they were anonymous which made them all the more authentic) that I thought I would write mine own. I will link up if I find it. In the meantime, please share your confessions with me! Let’s all feel better!

Toddler Practical Life: Window Cleaning

clean

My daughter loves to engage in water play and I was looking for a new activity for her to do that would differ from transferring and require more gross motor skills. I decided to set up a window cleaning activity which was very easy to organize.

I put a towel to define her work space and prevent slippery floor at the bottom of the window, a bowl filled with warm water and natural dish soap, and two dish cloths on her right hand side.

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As always, Sixtine impressed me with her concentration, but even more so by how clean the window was once she was done! I don’t think I clean them that well.

clean

She really enjoyed this activity, and stayed concentrated for quite a long time…until she put her foot into the bowl which marked the end of the activity.

Teething And Biting While Breastfeeding

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This will be a quick post. I haven’t been blogging much for many reasons but I will get back to it as soon as I can. I have been working on a very exciting project and with two little ones under two, it has proven difficult doing it all, let alone blogging but it should quiet down a little in the next few weeks.

Victoire, who is now 5 months has two teeths now and she knows how to use them! It is making breastfeeding challenging – add on a bad cold in the mix and you’ve got a pretty good picture.

I am really hurting from the biting and quite discouraged to be honest. I would like to make it 6 months at least, and then push it to 9 months and so on but I have been looking into getting a pump (if I can’t nurse then at least, she would be getting breast milk!) and a cup for her to drink from.

I have been spacing feeding times to make sure she is really hungry and avoid the dreading nipple chewing and I think it is resulting into a blocked duct. Yay me. I usually say no, and put her down when she bites but it doesn’t seem to be working.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you experienced it? What brands would you recommend for a pump and/or a cup?

Potty Learning Without A Plan

pottytraininge

Sixtine is 21 months. In the morning, little miss tornado gets up naked and points at her diaper saying either “dirty” or “caca” which means poop in French. She can’t stand a dirty diaper, and says “caca’ pretty much every time she goes. I think it is safe to say she is starting to be aware of her body functions. In an ideal world, she would just ask for big girl underwear and go to the bathroom on her own, when she needs it, right away but don’t we say that slow and steady wins the race?

I bought a few training pants for her (as shown on picture) thinking it would make her feel special. And she likes them a lot. But she’d rather go naked or go home. So she takes them off too. My girl loves to be naked and free. And that is a sweet, innocent, and beautiful thing. We started Monday (she went to daycare on Tuesday so she only went diaper-free for a couple hours in the evening before bed time) and so far two mishaps – a small one and a big one. The problem is: she doesn’t use the potty, and she doesn’t use the toilets either.

So my question is: when does my child pee or poop? I think she is like her Mama. I was always very private going to the bathroom and even to this day, if someone is wandering around the bathroom door, I can’t go. TMI. Anyways. I think Sixtine waits for her next diaper (nap time or bed time.) She used to poop twice a day and since we have started the whole toilet challenge, she has been going only once a day.

Also: I don’t have a plan. I am following her lead so I am unsure what to do to help her the best way possible to figure out how her body works – but really does she need me? I know now from observation that she knows the sign of wanting to poop but I am not sure about pee. I don’t want to keep asking her and ruin everything (I think making a big fuss about going on the potty will make things difficult) as I have noticed that she won’t go when I suggest it but as soon as I live the room, she does sit on the potty (or actually go to the bathroom) without prompt.

So I guess my no-plan potty learning challenge is turning into a: let her plan herself. The couch, and chairs are covered with towels. She knows where the potty is and she is very welcome to use it.

Would love to know if someone had a similar experience (no plan/ toilet learning) and how it went for you!

Toddler Cooking: Chocolate Zucchini Bread

zucchiniIMG_3521IMG_3507fIMG_3519hIMG_3523d IMG_3528g

loaf

This is by far one of the best breads I have ever had. Sixtine and I had fun making it – fewer pictures this time as it was a lot messier and I feared my camera would get damaged in the process! We made it for Daddy who was coming home that night. There was a lot of cute moments: Sixtine pouring one large egg in the bowl and the other egg on her apron. “Oh, oh” she said, or when she thought the chocolate chips shouldn’t go in with the other dry ingredients and decided to keep them for eating. She had never had them so I am not sure how she knew they’d be yummy but she had (quite) a few until I was able to explain they were going IN the bowl not in her tummy. I also love the fact that this recipe includes 1 1/2 cup of zucchini, a vegetable that Sixtine wouldn’t eat on a regular basis.

Ingredients + recipe:

1 1/2 cups (360 ml/225 grams) shredded raw zucchini (courgette)

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

3/4 cup (180 ml) semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (we used bittersweet)

2 large eggs (half of it ended up on Sixtine’s apron and it still tasted yummy!)

1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable, safflower, corn, or canola oil (we used melted butter)

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar 

1/2 cup (105 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and grease your loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients and add chocolate chips.
  • In another large bowl, whisk eggs, add oil, sugars, vanila and whisk again.
  • Fold in the zucchini, and fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  • Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes.
  • Makes one loaf and can be frozen.

Recipe adapted from Joy of baking, our go-to baking website!

Co-sleeping, bed-sharing, or sleep-sharing.

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Last night, I decided to put Victoire in her own bed, in her own room. I am not sure what triggered the decision – she was starting to fuss and I wasn’t ready to go to sleep but didn’t want to leave my bedroom either (Daddy was away) so I thought: “mon beau chat*”, tonight is the night. You are going to sleep by yourself, like a big girl. I kissed her and wished her goodnight. I left the room and felt sick to my stomach. I wasn’t enjoying not having her with me – as we always do. I felt incomplete. I missed her. I went back. Picked her up. And we had a very good night sleep.

I realize that I am not ready to part with her – exclusively breastfeeding her has created a bond so strong that I feel I can’t let go of her for too long. But I need to find a happy medium, I would like to spend some time with my husband and just cuddle, and dream together without a squirmy little individual in between us.

If you have any experience co-sleeping and would like to share tips or “I hear you” type of thoughts and feelings, I am all ears. Especially if you have experience breastfeeding without co-sleeping! I am not even sure that it is what I want. I just know I need to find a better way of balancing one-on-one time with my husband (or myself for that matter, sometimes, I just want time alone) and cuddly-time with baby.

*I nicknamed her my pretty cat.