Friday, January 13, 2017

My Beautiful Sagan Neptoon Kroll is ONE!

It's been quite a while since I posted on here. I really do miss it but with two boys it's hard to find the time to do so. But I couldn't resist posting here about my youngest son Sagan. He will be turning one in a few weeks and I really don't know where the time has gone.

I had just a wonderful pregnancy with Sagan. We were so thrilled to find out we were expecting again. It was in our plans but we took our time so we could enjoy our family of three and did some travelling. During my second pregnancy I worked most of the year while my son was in his first year of school.

When I was about 32 weeks pregnant my ob felt that Sagan would be born breech and began to prepare me mentally for a breech vaginal birth. I live on the beautiful island of Curacao which is a Dutch Caribbean island. Many of the gynecologists are trained in breech birth as they are in Holland so it was a good option for me since I had delivered my first son vaginally.

And so the day came when I had really a perfect breech vaginal birth and I got to meet my beautiful son Sagan for the first time. Yes we named him after the late and great Carl Sagan. My mom was here with us for the first 2 months and she made life so easy for me. When she left I really felt the shock and developed a bit of anxiety. Our wonderful nanny moved into our little apartment downstairs and she has been the biggest help for me.

Sagan was really a wonderful baby though. He nursed really well and slept well in his bassinet. When he was 3-4 months he was more wakeful and I used his trusty swing to help him nap which worked great. He started rolling by 4 months and at 5 months I used a gentle sleep training approach called the Happy Sleeper. He and I were on the same page and after 2 days he was going to sleep on his own for naps and bedtime. He was quite the chubby baby at 6 months. We took our first trip at this time to Canada to visit our families. We also celebrated my eldest son Darwin's 5th birthday at my mom's home which was such a blast. He had also had a birthday party with his friends before our trip.

The next 6 months were even more fun. At 7 months Sagan loved to sit and play with his toys. And at 8 months he grew 4 teeth and was eating everything like a pro. By 9 months Sagan was crawling and enjoying being mobile but loved to get to his mat where he could sit and enjoy his toys. By 10 months he added many more words to his vocabulary. But his favourites were still dada and mama. His new favourite word though was Darwin. I could tell that he had developed a strong fondness for his big brother. At almost one year Sagan has 6 teeth and loves to eat, sleep and play! What baby doesn't?!  He especially likes to be at home with his family and loves visits from his dear Uncle Rish. He loves to go for rides to pick up his brother from school and stops to our favourite restaurant, Boosty, for lunch. Over the Xmas holidays he grew quite attached to his Grandma and loved to have a fun visit from his Auntie Rhea.

For his first birthday, I've planned the most beautiful party for him thanks to Pinterest. We will be hosting the party for our dear friends at our house in the front yard. This morning we dropped Darwin off to school and delivered all of the birthday invitations to our friends. They are handmade with love.

My family is complete and I couldn't be happier. I live on a paradise island with the love of my life and our two most precious little boys. Plus we have a fancy ride and a big and cozy home that we have made our own. Having my dear sweet Sagan has made my life complete.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A note to my son Darwin

To my dear Darwin,

I'm writing a short little note to share with you my thoughts and feelings about raising you during your first year of life.

It really has been a new and exciting year with you and I've really felt the transformation to becoming a mother. And I love being your mother.

I was so happy when I first saw you and I just couldn't believe that there would be a beautiful new human being in my family that I could love and protect as my own.

I can't believe how much you've grown already and am amazed by how your personality has developed so far. You are such a vibrant little one with lots of energy, curiosity and a sense of humor. I love to watch you play on your own but I see that you love when I am near you so you can show me what you're exploring. You are a sweetie.

You are learning so quickly every day and I want to be there for you when you need me. I want to teach you everything you want to know but also what is important for you to know. And I see that you care to know as you are a good listener.

You make my life feel complete. You are a part of me and you will always have a special imprint in my world.

You make me so happy and I can't wait to share the future with you, my Darwin.

Lots of love,


Darwin is ONE today!!

I can't believe we've come this far and I'm really looking forward to the months and years to come. It just months ago that Darwin began rolling over and sitting up on his own. Soon after he tried his first food and began grasping bite-size pieces of food with his little fingers. Then came crawling at 7 months and from that point forward his vocabulary expanded from his first words, "mama" and "dada". He started sleeping through the night and taking good naps in his crib at 10 months and could easily self-soothe at this point. At 11 and a half months he started walking like a pro. I think this is by far both his and my favourite milestone.

The first 6 months were quite a challenge for me, especially to quench his hunger with only breastmilk, and also to keep him entertained. It seemed that at 2 months he just wanted to be mobile but hadn't quite figured it out yet. The last 6 months however have been very exciting with a few exhausting days, especially in Canada. Darwin plays catch with his favourite toy, the ball, he eats everything on his own, he can clap, wave, give kisses, stack rings, put objects in and take out of a box, drink from a straw and so much more! The best part is watching him walk on his own which he has been practicing all month. He is very calculated and knows not to hurt himself. This mama is very proud of her little man and I'm so pleased to have such a smart and healthy boy to call my own.

Tears come to my eyes when I think about the memories of this past year. I just wish that my dad was still here to see my little boy grow. He is so missed by all of us and his first grandson will learn about his Grandpa Nalin as he grows.

I still remember when his two grandparents, Grandpa David and Grandma Ila came to see him when he was just a little newborn. It was very special to have them here to hold and kiss their first grandchild and for that I will always be appreciative. So much more love came to Darwin with a visit from his beautiful Auntie Julie, Auntie Rhea and his Uncle Rish who has the pleasure of watching Darwin grow every day. Uncle Rishabh and Darwin are so close and I really love and cherish that bond.

Peter and I are in such a better place now that Darwin is older and can easily entertain himself. Our relationship is 10 times better than it was earlier this year. If anything, this experience has really brought us closer together and we're in awe of what we've created together!

What about Curacao's country status?

I was watching the opening ceremony of the 2012 summer Olympics in London the other day and I was keeping my eye out for participants from Curacao. I was pleasantly hoping to see the country's flag flying along with all of the other flags but to my horror I saw something else. There were 3 lonely athletes from Curacao walking next to an athlete from South Sudan holding an IOC (International Olympic Committee) flag. I was utterly shocked that 3 talented Curacaoans were subjected to walk alongside an athlete from a war-ridden country and they were all labelled as stateless!! What does this say about the country of Curacao and it's people? In my opinion it says that Curacao by no means was even close to ready to take on country status and that deep down the government and people of Curacao don't know the first thing about representing themselves as a country. What an international embarrassment for Curacao.

Curacao's people should be ashamed of themselves for letting the government get away with such a large-scale error like this one. Although they may believe that it doesn't matter to them, it does matter to the international community and to the culture of Curacao. It sends the message to the world that Curacao does not take it's new status seriously nor does it care about it's new found responsibilities as a country.
Following up from an earlier post I had written titled "Disintegration of the Netherlands Antilles" I felt pride for Curacao that it was fighting to be recognized as its own country. But I have been brutally mistaken throught these last two years. The Netherlands Antilles florin still remains unchanged, the status of the island in the international mailing system still remains the same and now the Olympics, a large-scale world organization, shows no recognition of the country of Curacao. It is as if the island has fallen off the face of the Earth. At this point the island might as well beg for it's original Netherlands Antilles status so that it could at least still have a name and flag in the international community.

What do the people of Curacao have to say for themselves and this extreme judgement in error? Do they care that they cannot be properly represented in the Olympics because of a lack of government effort? Do they care that they cannot support their talented athletes at the Olympics? And do they care that they don't have a currency that matches their new status? I would like to know...

A story of my dad

My father passed away on October 3, 2010 from gall bladder cancer, a rare but serious type which had spread to his liver. He never realized the severity of the disease and died only weeks after being diagnosed.
It all happened so fast and it was difficult to accept the nature of the disease and the short time that my dad had. My dad enjoyed his life very much and so my siblings and I decided it was best that we allow him to feel that he could fight through the sickness. Although I do feel that in the back of his mind he knew he didn't have a lot of time left.

My dad was born and grew up in Uganda. He was the youngest of 11 children. In his youth he loved to be with his friends and sometimes get into trouble. From what I gathered from his elementary and high-school report cards which he had neatly filed away for all these years, he never really cared much for school. I guess being the youngest of such a large family he wasn't the type to follow the rules and be obedient like his older siblings.

One summer day I was sitting with my sick dad at the lake, his favourite place to be on a warm day, and he told me a story about an experience of his during a time of political instability under the dictatorship of Idi Amin in the early 1970s. He was in his 20s and worked as an accountant for a travel agency in Kampala, Uganda. One morning several military officials barged in and demanded financial records from the owner. Of course my dad was questioned as he was the account manager and was soonafter taken away to a military base along with his colleague. Here they were put into a jail cell and forced to shovel manure in their bare feet. I remember my dad's facial expression as he explained this to me. He had been able to make a phone call to his older brother and in a few days he was allowed to leave. However he never knew what happened to his colleague. During his time at the base he mentioned that he was at one point help up at gun point when being questioned and his life had flashed before his eyes. He had a strange reminiscent look on his face as he told me this story like he was weary about his current situation. It was the first time he had ever told me this story and I knew why. He knew inside that he wouldn't make it this time.

He also went on to tell me how he managed to flee Uganda during this troubling time. All of the South Asians residing in Uganda were forced to leave the country and had only 90 days to do so. They were disliked by the African community and by the new dictatorship as they believed that the Indians were stealing their jobs and running the economy. It was a bout of racism that drove the Indians out and many of them never looked back, including my dad. His family knew an immigration official that happened to be managing the application forms to leave the country so they, my dad included, were bumped to the top of the line. What luck! There were still many complications along the way however. They could only take a few of their belongings and had to be creative with getting their money out of the country. My dad, along with his two brothers and a few friends came to Canada as refugees with little money in their pockets. His other family members went to England, India and Kenya. It was a tough time for his family but my dad, as optimistic as he always was, looked to the future and was eager to call Canada home.

He decided to head north after arriving in Montreal. His brother and his wife and some friends came soonafter. They all settled in Kapuskasing, the model town of the north, and made the most of the cold and long winters there.

It wasn't long before my dad would find a wonderful job in his profession. Canada, at the time, was welcoming many immigrants as a way of boosting its economy and promoting itself as a multicultural place to live. My dad was asked to be a guest at a community event about multiculturalism and it was there that he met the owner of an accounting firm, Collins Barrow. This man was very charmed by my dad and offered him a job at his firm which my dad happily accepted. He would work there for over 30 years as a very likable accountant with many long-time clients.

He met my mother through a friend and were introduced thereafter. They were very fond of each other and both wanted to start a family in the near future. They soon married at his brother's house and bought a house of their own in a nice neighborhood.

They had three children who they cared for and loved dearly. My dad was a very loving father. He would do anything for us and always made sure that we stayed on track. In contrast to his academic career, he guided us to respect education and achieve excellence for the benefit of our future. Although he wasn't so successful academically, he was a very wise man when it came to giving advice about organization and management. Many people would seek his advice about managing their finances and their lives in general.

My dad was a friend of the town. He was a life member and longtime treasurer of the Kinsmen club, which is a volunteer organization. One such effort helps to raise money for the low-income community every Christmas so the children of these families can enjoy the holidays as well. This was very close to my dad's heart and as such the Santa Claus Fund was named after him in memory of him.

I miss my dad every day. I used to talk to him daily no matter where I was or what I was doing. He made it a ritual to always speak with his children even if it was only for a few minutes. When I needed advice I would always go to him because he always knew what to say. He was the glue that held our family together and his optimistic personality always made everything seem pleasant no matter how unpleasant the situation.
We just weren't ready to let him go, his friends or his family. We were all deeply saddened by his loss and still are to this day. We all lost a part of us that peaceful Sunday morning in October-- an optimistic side that pushed through tragic times giving stength to never looked back. That was my dad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Darwin is one month shy of turning ONE!!

I have to say that this month has been a breeze compared to previous months. Darwin is advancing like a champ and he's surprising us every day.

Darwin took his first steps just before he turned 11 months and it really was a treat for dad since he had come home early after a stressful day at work. Ever since then he has been practicing those first couple of steps and really working on the skill of standing on his own without any support. He has no problem standing for a long time so now he is beginning to build his confidence to carefully walk on his own. He practices walking using a push walker and can easily manuver around obstacles and also turn around. He loves to cruise and take a few steps on his own to get to another piece of furniture. He also loves to hold our hands while he walks and enjoys kicking a ball or stepping on something on the floor while he walks. It's hilarious!

The most wonderful part of Darwin being 11 months old (for me) is that he naps in his crib with no problem!!! When he is tired, I nurse him and put him in his crib awake and after some whining and playing with his stuffed animals he falls asleep. He sleeps for at least an hour more or less and takes two naps a day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. I have so much more time on my hands I don't even know what to do. Normally I work on BPM stuff or watch a show. Other times I will have a shower or chat with grandma on the phone. I need to start doing a short workout on my cross trainer like I used to during my pre-pregnancy days. Darwin is also really great at night. He goes to bed on his own with no problems. It takes a mere 5-10 minutes to put him to sleep. So now mom and dad have a guaranteed stress-free evening and really enjoy our bedtime routine with our little guy. And he sleeps through the night (8:30-8) and occasionally wakes once for a night feeding. I don't mind since this way he sleeps in so I can too :)

Darwin has also been doing a lot of talking lately. Just like the last couple of months, this month Darwin has been chatting away. Sometimes while he is reading he will read (in baby language) and flip the pages while he is doing so. He loves to point at things and try to name it. Every morning when I take him into our room for a routine nursing he will point to the pictures on the wall and say "picture"! It's just the cutest thing. He also says the work book since he's been really into books lately. There are a handful of words he has said, I just can't remember them. He also has been signing for finished which is so adorable. I've been trying to teach him the sign for 'more' but he prefers to stomp his legs and screech.

Darwin is now showing signs of eating more solids and also eating them on his own rather than in chunk or puree form. I still prefer to spoon-feed him since he gets the most food that way but it's getting more and more difficult. He loves to go out to eat where he can eat like an adult and try new foods. We went to a new thai retaurant the other day and he was having a ball trying the hot and sour soup and munching on rice. And while we were at Coral Estate visiting a friend we drove over to Habitat hotel after dad's scuba dive for some food and Darwin thought my cheesy risotto was delicious.

I've just been having a ball with my little man. We've been out and about this month, especially at the beach with friends. But lately we have been out shopping for his 1st birthday party and delivering invitations to his friends. He also go a Step 2 Climber from grandma and a cute water table from his mom and dad. We're just spoiling him and he's not even 1! We're just very proud of him for being so ahead mentally and physically and we can't wait to celebrate his 1st birthday with out close friends. Grandma Ila and grandpa David can't make it due to Ila's ear surgery and David's busy schedule so we will be thinking of them and wishing they were here to celebrate with us.

We just love our Darwin so much and can't believe how fast he is growing. It makes me want to have another one....

Wow Darwin is already 10 months old!

This month Darwin has really progressed both physically and mentally. He's about 20 lbs and 29 inches and eats about 6 tbsp of veggie/fruit combo 3 times a day. He eats cereal in the morning and likes to have his meals with a side of cottage cheese. Lately he has been fussy at mealtime and I have to distract him with Tupperware, utensils, or Cheerios. I see that the fourth upper tooth is coming in so I believe it is the reason for his moodiness. 

He's been sleeping so much better since we returned from Canada and since his three upper teeth came in. Some nights he would sleep right through the night for about 11-12 hours and other nights he wakes once at around 5 am. I can put him down awake for bedtime every night and he knows very well that it is time to sleep. I can also sometimes put him down awake for naps but timing is key. He does however prefer to fall asleep while nursing and then I can move him to his room with little effort.

Darwin loves to wave and say bye-bye to his dad in the morning and he claps when he is excited or when there is music playing. He loves to dance and attended his first music class thus month and did very well with the older kids. Darwin can stand on his own for about half a minute and cruises around everywhere. He's definitely a speedy crawler and loves to use a push walker to help him walk.

I have started to ready more advanced books to him with numbers, letters and words and he can point out a ball and says it all of the time when he's playing ball and hockey with dad. He can also say thank you when I give him a cracker or toy and loves to drink out of his sippy cup which has a straw. The cutest is when he points to the neighbour's dog and barks or when he crawls around with his truck and says 'vroom' while he rolls it around.

I can't believe how much he has developed this past month. He has become a little man that sleeps so well in just a few short weeks. I'm so proud of him and feel very fortunate to have such a smart and handsome little boy.

Wow I can't believe he will be 1 soon; I absolutely must start planning and preparing for his first birthday!!!

Darwin spends most of his 9th month in Canada!

This month Darwin took his first trip to Canada to see his family. It was quite a different experience for him since the weather was cool and he slept in a playpen near our bed. For me, that meant waking every couple of hours with Darwin to put him back to sleep. So I was quite exhausted during the day. However it was nice to have Grandma around to take care of Darwin while I slept in or wanted to take an afternoon nap.
We would also take Darwin for walks in his stroller downtown. We would walk along the harbourfront and around the Roger's skydome. Peter and I would take walks to get some lunch nearby or in the PATH. Darwin just loved these walks and most of the time he would take a nice long nap.

One day Grandma accompanied us to Eaton's center by subway and it was a nice little adventure since I found myself some great pairs of shoes. Most evenings in Toronto however were spent visiting family for dinner and introducing Darwin to everyone. They all just adored him. And Darwin was especially fond of his cousin Darius who he got to play with twice on his trip.

Darwin also became very close to his Auntie Rhea and Auntie Julie and loved all of their attention. He loved the drums at Rhea's and couldn't get enough of Julie's cuddles. His Grandma was just the best and cared for Darwin so well. She gave him baths, changed him, fed him and even put him down for naps. And I got to relax!

We also stayed with grandpa in Milton for 10 days and it was very relaxing. There was more space for Darwin to play and he slept much better in his own room. A couple of days after we arrived we noticed that Darwin's top three teeth were poking through and then I knew it was his teeth bothering him all along.
Darwin got to visit his Uncle Brandon in Guelph for one night. He was quite fussy in the later evening as a lot of other guests came over like Brandon and Nicole's parents. But he was great for naptime the following day and we got to relax and hang out like old times.

This past month Darwin really developed in both his mental and physical skills. He learned to clap this month and by the end began standing on his own for a few seconds. He also used a walker at Grandpa's to help him walk and we noticed him putting some rocks into a pail.

He's been eating so well too. He'll eat almost anything pureed or in chunks and just loves food. He's still working on drinking on his own. I've got a couple new sippy cups for him to practice.

Overall he did very well. Our flight to Canada was fine except maybe the last hour. He was crying and screaming but surprisingly people were tolerant and tried to cheer him up. I think the combination of ear pressure and lack of sleep was really getting to him. The Admiral's Lounge in Miami was wonderful and the flight back went great. The sleep situation throughout our visit wasn't ideal but we dealt with it the best we could. I think it was too long of a trip but necessary for Darwin's first visit. I can't wait to do it again!

Darwin is 8 months old

Darwin has been surprising me everyday. He has definitely gone through a wonder week and growth spurt since he's been learning so much so fast as well as outgrowing his 9 month clothing.

At this stage he can crawl very well and fast too. I have to chase after him as he likes to go over to the staircase into the living room which is not gated off. We like to give him the freedom to climb them and he's very good at it. He doesn't quite know how to go down the stairs yet ; that will take some time and practice. He loves to pull himself to standing on anything, even the refrigerator door to reach the magnets that are higher up. He can cruise along furniture as well but mostly prefers to cautiously lower himself to sitting and crawl to the next area of interest. I keep toys for him in different areas of the house so when I need to be in a certain room he can easily entertain himself. Although he does seem to be getting bored with a lot of his toys except balls. He loves to throw them and chase after them or play ball with his mom or dad.

He's become very attached to his dad. He loves to wake him up in the morning with a big hug and a face-grab which dad really loves. He can sometimes wave bye bye to dad when he goes to work and remembers his dad throughout the day by calling for him. In the evenings he will play happily for hours with dad. He also very much enjoys being snuggled in dad's arms while taking a stroll around the house before bedtime. He'll sometimes fall asleep and dad can put him down in his crib to sleep for the night. This gives me a break from nursing Darwin to sleep. He is showing that now he doesn't always need mama to put him to sleep.

This month Darwin's sleep routine has been kind of all over the place. We were successfully practicing the 2-3-4 hr method of awake time and down to only 2 naps but once the teething began he's been extra fussy. Last month 2 of his bottom teeth cut and he was up multiple times at night. Then he was okay for a week or two but he's been waking multiple times a night again, normally twice per night. I was giving him tempra for the pain but he was still waking so I am now just giving him homeopathic drops of camilia throughout the day and at night which helps some.

Darwin has been eating very well and will try anything new. He always finishes all of his food at each meal and enjoys solids very much. He loves when I give him the spoon to feed himself and enjoys using the pincer grasp to feed himself Cheerios, puffs and fruits. He enjoys chicken very much and loves to ear banana chunks with his cereal in the morning.

This month Darwin got to test out his new swim trainer tube at Lagun Beach with his mom and dad and he just had a ball. He loves the water and was kicking and splashing with joy as he floated along with dad. After our swim we sat together at the restaurant nearby and had a late lunch.

Darwin's Auntie Julie visited for almost 2 weeks and he loved to sit with her and sing and play. We went to the beach together and it was the first time that Darwin got to really enjoy the water. The water was calm and warm at the Hyatt which is the perfect combination for Darwin.

I've been trying to get Darwin to nap in his crib lately but he is really used to nursing and napping on me. There were a couple of times that he did nap in his crib and once in his playpen but it is not consistent. I guess it will happen easily one day and I will just have to remain patient and keep trying for now.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

West side riding

Riding to the west side of the island of Curacao is like escaping fora weekend getaway to the countyside. The rural feel of the surroundings as I travel west reminds me of being on a camping trip in Canada with my family as a child. For one, the drive is shorter and the beaches are at your fingertips. The quaint little towns and villages with their own character give the traveller a glimpse into the lives of the simple-minded, quiet and easy-going life in Curacao.

On one of our trips to Westpunt my husband and I stumbled upon a barbeque in a little neighbouhood along the way. We had taken a detour to get around a construction zone and noticed a sign with a menu of local cuisine. We decided to explore this option for lunch instead of stopping at the nearby snack stand since the smell of barbeque food seemed so much more appealing. We walked over to a cute little house and were greeted with smiles all around. We ordered our usual bbq galina cu batata and had a seat on a lovely covered balcony. We felt like we had joined into a family barbeque with music playing, people relaxing and children running free on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and felt lucky to be experiencing this aspect of Caribbean life. While we waited some of the children were drawn to my son Darwin, who was 5 months old at the time, and I had the opportunity to practice my Papiamentu with them. All in all it was a wonderful end to our ride on the west side.

It is so easy to stumble upon something different on the west side such as a secluded beach or a very old cemetary. There are several beautifully built landhouses that can be seen from the main road and visited for a look into the history of Curacao. Some have been transformed into restaurants that offer local cuisine and also live music. Many avid travellers that frequent the west side are very familiar with Christoffel National Park as well as Shete Boka National Park but may not know about Hofi Pastor where the oldest tree in Curacao grows. It is over 800 years old and is also surrounded by other old flora such as cacti. A little trail will lead you through the area where you can gaze at these old plants that carry so much history as well as a little mystery with them. It is said that the oldest tree was once worshipped by the Arawak Indians who lived in the vicinity and protected it. Today the area is also used as a camping ground and is especially fun for children. After a walk through the trail visitors can sit down under the thick arborous canopy and have a cold drink from the local soursap fruit while the kids play in the garden.

The best part of the journey out west is that after a day of exploring you can cool down at a secluded beach and enjoy the peace and beauty of the surroundings. You may have planned to go to a particular beach such as Lagun or Knip only to have missed the road sign and made a wrong turn toward another beach that you didn't know about but were happy to have found. That's the sweet thing about west side riding in Curacao. Each outing is a unique experience.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Darwin is 7 months

I finally got the courage to put Darwin in the seawater and let him explore on his own. I took all his clothes off and let him sit on the shore. He wasn't too excited however.. let's just put it that way. But I could tell he was interested in the newness of it all. I'll have to try again another day.

A friend once told me that 7 months for her was when life started getting easier and when the fun began with her little one. I would have to agree. Life has completely changed for me. I see my Darwin becoming independent and exploring life on his own. He likes when mommy is nearby of course but I can let him play at a distance while I do things around the house like cook, eat, exercise, fold laundry, etc.

This month he is crawling all over the place and is really starting to pick up speed. For this reason we have started to babyproof since our house needs it. He just figured out how to sit up from the crawling position and he's really loving it. He can take a break from crawling all on his own. He especially likes to follow me into the kitchen while I'm preparing a meal for him and come right to my feet to let me know he wants to be near me.

He absolutely loves to eat. He tends to get a little fussy when I put him in his highchair but becomes very calm and ready to chow down once I start feeding him. He will sometimes grab the spoon from me to have a taste on his own and also get a hold of his sippy cup to have a drink of water. He learned this on his own. His favourite foods are sweet potato, carrot, peach, pear, banana and mango. He's also tried pumpkin, yellow squash, and zucchini. He's so eager to eat that it's just so easy for me to feed him. Next he will try green beans, peas, apricot, apple, chicken and tofu.

He loves to play on his mat and especially likes his pal Scout, a little drum, a ball, and a moving musical ball. He tends to be overly interested in my laptop so I try to teach him that it's not a toy. He's just very good at entertaining himself and it makes it easy on me. I find myself with ample time to do things and feel encouraged to play with him and teach him new ideas.

I try to sign to him throughout the day. The main signs are for 'all finished', 'milk', 'more' and 'poo'. We go for walks around the house or nearby and I let him touch the different trees and flowers. I let him sit in the grass and play with the dirt. I wear him in my handy sling sometimes while I water the plants, chat with my neighbors, or discuss projects with my contractor. Many moments with him are such a treat for me and he enjoys life so much more as well since he can sit up and be mobile.

The best of all is that he is sleeping so well. At night he is very playful but also sometimes uncomfortable with his poop situation. It is a lot more solid now so I have to be adament about giving him water or pear juice after each meal. He will squirm but once he starts to doze off while nursing I can easily put him down in his crib and he will sleep for 10 hours straight. If he wakes at 6am I can feed him and put him back down for another hour. Naps are great too. I think I can easily put him down in his crib but am hesitant since I love to cuddle him while he naps on me. I know it won't last long so I'm taking advantage .. let's put it that way.

I love my little Darwin who can now say Mama and Dada. I can't wait to see what he'll do next! Perhaps a clap and a wave!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Darwin is 6 Months Old Yay!!

The day has finally come that I can say that my little one is half way to his first birthday! I can now start feeding him solids so he can begin to experiment with the act of eating and chewing. He already seems very interested in mommy and daddy's food but I wanted to wait until the 6 month mark to start solids. I'm still breastfeeding so he is getting what he needs but a little extra nutrition will help him stay full and nap better in the day.

For solids he started with 1-2 tbsp of rice cereal mixed with 1 oz of breastmilk in the morning and evening. I soon eliminated the evening feeding as he did not poop for a day or two and I noticed that when he did poop it was thick and brown. The following week I introduced carrots at lunch and he is enjoying it. I also give him a little taste of my banana for a treat. I also give him a drop of Gaia probiotic for digestion after lunch. I recently ordered the Baby Brezza steamer/blender to make my own baby food and will be picking it up at the post office shortly. I will soon introduce pumpkin, sweet potato and squash; but one food at a time. Then fruit such as avocado, pear and banana will come next. I also introduced oats in the evenings but not sure that he loves the cereals in general. I have been looking around for a highchair but have not found one I like. I may end up buying the Mom and Co. option but it's sort of pricey.

He has also been playing with his toys and entertaining himself very easily. He loves to roll and move around on his mats and grab at his favourite toys. He's made so much progress since his first  session with the pediatric physiotherapist Mariana when he was 4 months old. All this playing and exercise makes him extra tired and so his naptime is very predictable. After his morning feeding he is out like a light after 2 hours of wake time albeit on my lap but he sleeps well nevertheless.

At about 5.5 months we decided that Darwin would need some help to sleep longer in his crib so we used the cry-it-out method with our own twist. The first night as usual he awoke 45 minutes into his sleep but we didn't get him but let him cry instead. We checked on him every 5 minutes for the first 15 minutes, the every 10 minutes. It took almost an hour before he fell asleep. He briefly awoke that night at his usual wake times of 11pm and 2pm but soothed himself to sleep after 5 minutes. I fed him at around 5am and then he slept until 7-8am. The next night it was the same but this time he did not wake until 5am. This was the case on the third night. After that he did not wake after putting him to sleep so we did not have to let him cry. Success!! Of course there have been times that he has awoke at 12-1am for a late night feeding but occasionally. I have however come to the realization that if we change his routine too much or go to him the second he cries it will encourage him to get into this habit. But I'm happy to say that we are all sleeping much better and straight through the night for the most part. I sometimes have to hold out to pump as I am not at all interested in doing so unless I need to. But sometimes it is so uncomfortable that I don't have a choice.

I have developed a strong love of breastfeeding, something that I never thought I would have such strong feelings for. Darwin exclusively breastfed until 6 months and I am so proud of myself for meeting my goal, which seemed almost impossible in the beginning. I would like to continue ideally until he is 2 years old. It's just too easy ;)

I would have to say that life has gotten easier for sure these days. Darwin is sleeping better, although still napping on me, he's less gassy, can play on his own longer, is less fussy overall and is more predictable. He's growing so fast and time seems to be going by much faster.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Darwin: 5 months

Darwin is finally at a stage in his life where he is starting to adapt to the foods I eat and so he can handle the gas a little better. My mom is visiting and I couldn't be happier. She has been so helpful with housework and of course watching little Darwin and it has allowed me to get some extra rest and do other things like blog and catch up on my favourite shows. She loves to sing to Darwin and he just loves it. When he cries her singing always seems to calm and soothe him no matter how hungry or tired he is. It's the perfect solution and always works.

One big accomplishment is that we have successfully transitioned him to his crib. Once a finely decorated, empty space is now a comfortable haven for our sweet pea. Well he doesn't quite sleep through the night regularly as he did in his bouncer but I don't really mind feeding him 2-3 times a night. I find that he's gaining more weight since he's eating a lot at night and in turn my milk supply has increased quite a bit. I'm no longer struggling to satisfy his hunger in the day and he is therefore, I believe, taking longer naps in the day.

Peter especially feels like he can more happily enjoy playing with Darwin and he seems to be more accepting of Darwin when he is fussy or needs to be entertained. We have less arguments now that Darwin is older and less fussy and this has given us the freedom to spend quality time together.

Rhea so kindly picked up probiotics for Darwin and I which should help the gas issue and aid in digestion so I'm looking forward to feeling the results in a few days. She also brought a mixture for colic and teething which is all natural so I'm glad to be using that for Darwin.

Darwin also loves to go out and meet friends and new people and just loves to drive around in his carseat. Sometimes I'll take him for a drive so he can take a nap and so I can have a break from him. But of course I seem to miss him when he is asleep.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Darwin is 3 Months

Darwin has been growing so well over the last few weeks mainly because he has been eating so much that I can barely keep up. At his last appointment at the Wit Gele Kruis on October 31, 2011 he weighed in at 12.4 lbs. He has been surprising us so much with his development these days.

For the first time he started talking, of course in his own way, but with the use of vowels and consonants! We were so impressed with him and I even got it on video. I try to have random conversations with him regularly and I have also began to casually teach him signs for mama, dada, eat, milk and finished. He seems to really pay attention well especially since he likes to observe my hand gestures. Just something fun to do to pass the time.

He has also been putting a lot of weight on his legs and just loves to be held in the standing position. Looks like we will have an early walker so it seems. We still swaddle him as he has a strong startle reflex and also likes to grab his face with his hands. I let his legs move freely, however, for proper pelvic and leg muscle development.

He normally loves baths, ever since he was a newborn, but lately he has been screaming I think due to his burning a$$hole.. he has been pooing a lot lately which could be the culprit, I use Penatan cream which his grandpa David gave him since he once used the same brand on Peter.

He still doesn't nap much in the day but I can usually get him down for a couple of 30 to 45 minute naps and lie with him and get him to sleep for an hour. Or he'll just sleep on me while I'm watching a show or working on the computer. He sleeps quite well at night, normally 7ish-7ish with two feedings in between (one at 12ish and the other at 4ish)... so he's fairly predictable at night. I get on average about 6.5 hours of sleep since I go to bed around 9-10pm and am awake for about 1.5-2 hours at night... not too bad.

In his first month he slept in his bassinet but as he got older and bigger he became more fussy and likes to sleep in his bouncy chair, courtesy of my friend Beth. I've put him in his crib numerous times and he has slept well but soon noticed that he was spitting up. I realized that he needs to sleep on an incline to minimize reflux so once we have the air conditioner installed in his room, which should be happening in a day or two, I will prop up the mattress and let him sleep in his room again.

He's getting so big these days. I've started to reminisce about when he was a newborn. I have been gazing at pictures and videos of him at just a few weeks old and it just gets me emotional. I love him so much..

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Darwin Nalin Kroll

Today I finally have a second to write about how my life has changed since I gave birth to my beautiful son Darwin Nalin Kroll who is now 11 weeks old. Now, looking back, pregnancy was far easier than raising a child, not to mention a newborn, and what was I thinking when I couldn't wait for the day I could hold my son in my arms. It seems forever ago but I did enjoy being pregnant aside from the swollen ankles and feet.

Pregnancy was really easy for me. I seemed to have a more extreme urge to go out and do things that I had been putting off for months to years, including doing pending renovations. I guess that perhaps I was just excited to be a mother but at the same time knew that I could never complete my to-do-list once I had a child to care for. And I was very right about that.

These last (almost) three months have been very time-consuming. All my time and energy has gone into taking care of Darwin and also just adjusting to being a mother both physically and emotionally. For one, I have never been at this weight (pre-pregnancy) ever in my life-- I am now 128 lbs-- and do not know when I will ever get down to my pre-pregnancy weight of 115 lbs. There goes trying to get down to 112 lbs before I got pregnant. Thankfully I have adjusted quite well emotionally and I would have to give a lot of credit to my mom who stayed with us for over 2 months to help care for the little one. Damn, was she ever good. She did everything for me, even take Darwin when I needed a break.

During the first 2 months of raising Darwin it was quite difficult for me to get used to caring for him. I felt that I needed to produce more milk (I am breastfeeding) since it seemed as though he was always hungry and never interested in sleeping in the day even though newborns are supposed to sleep for about 15 hours a day or more. Darwin would maybe sleep 2 hours in the daytime. So this meant that I had a lot less time to myself and for naps. But, since he was up in the day he would sleep fairly well at night which made for a more or less rested mommy.

I did however realize that I had to quickly change my diet since whatever I was eating was effecting his tiny little digestive system and giving him a lot of gas and cramps. This was keeping him up or waking him up from a nap and it took me weeks to adjust my diet to suit his little tummy. I eliminated eggs, most dairy, nuts, onions, garlic and citrus from my diet which was difficult since these comprised a large part of my diet. Oh well, as long as Darwin could sleep better I had no problem with that. To this day he gets very mild cramps and seems to prefer his bouncy chair (which was given to me by my friend Beth as a last ditch effort) and it has just been the best solution.

These days Darwin gets about 5 hours of sleep in the day and sleeps for about 10 hours at night with 2 feedings on average throughout the night. He is so much more calm now and ever since I have included foods and herbal concoctions into my diet to increase my breastmilk the supply now flows really well thus providing more than enough food for my baby. So he is satisfied! I still pump at night, mainly due to engorgement of my right breast and also to have a bottle in case I want to go out or give him a little extra at night before bed. Peter normally takes care of that and so he gets some bonding time with his son. Darwin also seems to love that very much since he doesn't see his daddy all day. My mom was in charge of these feedings when she was here and thus developed quite an attachment to little D. She still misses him dearly after being gone for over 2 weeks. I totally understand-- Darwin's such a cutie pie!

Last week Darwin had his first round of immunizations and it was also the first time that I really worried about my son. He had a fever which we were able to keep at bay by administering paracitamol suppositories. Poor Darwin slept on his dad for hours that evening as Peter watched UFC and then in the early morning slept on his tummy in the bed with us for the first time. He really just wanted to be comforted and, hey, I don't blame him. His fever cleared the next afternoon and he was back to his normal smiley self again.

These days he's been smiling a lot and I just love that he is such a happy baby. Not too long ago he was suffering from so much gas that it made me feel so bad that I was hurting him. This gas in particular was from restaurant food and I just had to accept that I could not eat out unless it was a salad or... MacDonalds which seems to not effect him... very strange! He just smiles at everything and loves to be playful. He particularly loves getting bathed in his tub and for the last month has been flashing me a smile to let me know how much fun he is having. Oh I just LOVE him!!

I never thought I could love someone so much. Of course I love me husband but this love is different. I carried the little guy for 9 months inside of me and painfully and naturally gave birth to him. It's a love like no other and it will only grow stronger as he grows. I mean, don't get me wrong, there have definitely been times when I just want to get up and leave the room with Darwin in it when he doesn't want to sleep or he is having gas pains but of course because I am adjusting to giving all my time to another human being.

That's the one thing I overlooked. That I would have a lot less time for myself but at the same time not really care so much. I used to be obsessed about working out and now, if I just can't do it then so be it. Although, this will have to change at some point when Darwin is older can play on his own. I definitely have to lose those 15 lbs and get back into shape so my clothes fit again. I refuse to buy new clothes, since I just love the ones I have and also do not want to start feeling comfortable at a heavier weight..

I am now starting to feel more liberated... to do laundry, read, continue with my volunteering, hang out with Pete, cook and go out with friends without feeling that I need to constantly cater to Darwin's needs. Overall, he is a very good boy and I really just had to get the hang of being a mother, a parent, a caregiver. That's who I am now, there's no turning back... and I wouldn't have it any other way :) I love my Darwin now and forever..