Category As Laelia Grows

Underwood Farms 2012

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on Leave a comment

Well, I finally updated my computer with some more ram, and deleted 60GB of needless files, so my computer is in much better shape than it’s been in a long while! It was seriously running like molasses… :( It is an iMac from 2008, so it’s definitely not new, but I’d like to make it last me another 1 or 2 years. We were really considering buying a new computer, but we decided to give installing some extra ram a try, and then I saw how much memory I was using… I had essentially filled my HD; 412MB/413MB! Well, no wonder things were moving so slow! So now things seem to be running a little faster, which I’m happy about, because I think it will help me get back to blogging. It was taking me about 7 minutes just to open a photo or a file, and just as long to SAVE one. Doing any work on the computer has been painstaking, and I think this has subconsciously kept me away from sitting down and doing any long bouts of design or photo editing, which is sad. I’m hoping that between my computer running smoothly again, buying a new DSLR (if you remember my 20D was stolen on Laelia’s birthday!), and unveiling my new website, I’ll be back to regular blogging after the new year! (which would be two months behind schedule, but not THAT bad… ~.^) I’m reaaaaaalllllly looking forward to blogging regularly again, I think it’s good for my heart. Thanks to everyone who still visits while I’m on hiatus! I have so much to share! Wedding invitation suites! Blog Designs! Complete bathroom renovations! My kitchen is ALMOST done! (wow, I just realized all the stuff I’ve been doing when I haven’t been blogging!)


Anyway, the first thing I did to check out how much faster my computer runs was to pursue the photos that have collected virtual dust on my memory cards for months! First up, I want to share a few shots from October. We have made a tradition of visiting the pumpkin patch at Underwood Family Farms every year. I know posting pumpkin photos in December is a little silly, but better late than never! Check out last year’s photos here!

Two and a Half Years!

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Last Wednesday, Laelia turned turned two and a half! I have found it very fun to always do something a little special on her half birthday, to break up the monotony of  the everyday.  Nothing like a big gathering or a party, but something special just for her. October 17th also happens to be the actual birthdays of my cousin-in-law Becky and our friend Isabella. Last year, we went to the Long Beach Aquarium w/ Isabella for her 3rd birthday, and this year, we went again! This time we were joined by a very pregnant Beth and her son Orion. They had an excellent time running about and watching the fish. Later, we met Tyler at his work and then went at the Cheesecake Factory down the street for a sundae. I asked our waiter (who was really great) to put a candle in her sundae, because, whereas on her second birthday, she did not really understand birthdays, now she does. Well, she at least sees them as something exciting; she knows they are someone’s “special day” (which is what she was saying all day; “it’s my special day”). So when they brought out her birthday sundae and put it in front of her and started singing, her eyes bulged in recognition and I totally got a lump in my throat! Then I somehow managed to convince him to take Laelia to her first movie! We went to the Arclight (also in the Sherman Oaks Galleria) and saw Hotel Transylvania. She definitely did not like the few short parts where Dracula’s eyes went red, but she sat through almost all of it before she stood up and said “bye-bye?”. Definitely a fun day!

I haven’t updated on the things Laelia can do in a long while, so I figured I’d better do it now, before, you know, she starts reading & writing and I haven’t noted it.
- After two months of taking naps in her crib, Laelia started sleeping in her crib at night as well. There have only been a few nights when she woke up, and I think it’s mostly due to getting her two-year molars in.
- She’s been singing her ABCs for several months now. She especially likes to do it while spinning in circles!
- She can identify all of the letters.
- She can count to 20 in English.
- She can count to 10 in Spanish.
- She says “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” with out being prompted.
- She said “gracias” last night, after I put a bandage on her finger.
- She still needs to occasionally be asked to say “please”, but she will say it with out being asked as well.
- She knows all the primary and secondary colors.
- She knows how to say most of the primary and secondary colors in Spanish.
- She can complete large 24 pc or 36 pc jigsaw puzzles, often with no help at all!
- Sings Mary Had a Little Lamb and the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
- Makes pretty awesome Lego towers. Exclaims “look, a castle!”.
- Is really into the Care Bears and Mario. A girl after my own heart!

I’m currently doing a little research about home pre-schooling. I get a lot of crazy looks and “really?”s and “are you sure?”s, but — let’s face it, after a planned home birth, co-sleeping, babywearing, cloth diapering, and “extended” breastfeeding, I’m pretty used to odd looks and people telling me I can’t or shouldn’t do something because of their own preconceptions (and no actual research) on a subject. I’m keeping an open mind about it, and I simply think that the cost of pre-school is too high in our area, especially if I’m already home. I’d rather send her to ballet classes, and take her to museums and  outings with other children to keep her “socialized”, while I have direct one-on-one teaching with her, and I can help with manners as well. I’ve been looking at some Montessori books and some workbooks, and I plan to start in January (although, from what I can gather so far, I think Tyler and I  already doing a lot of what these books suggest, it is just our parenting style!). Anyway, I’m sure I’ll give it a post of its own! If you have any experience or any suggestions on books to read, please let me know!

Laelia’s Birth Story; Homebirth to Hospital

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 10 Comments

5.5 mos pregnant/the FB picture we posted from our phones/Laelia Day 2

So, amazingly enough, a year ago was Laelia’s first birthday! But a year before that, she born (funny how that works). That story has yet to be told. Until now.

As some/many of you may already know, we had a home birth-hospital transfer, and let me say right now to get it out of the way; it was NOT an emergency. There—now you don’t have to read on while expecting things to get super exciting or anything. It was a normal boring 48 hour birth process that progressed in tiny steps and climaxed with her head being pulled out by a suction cup.

A long long time ago when I was a young and eager art college student, I moon-lighted as an anthropology major (in other words, double major). I learned a lot of things about humanity that I always thought to be quite obvious, but apparently most people found them to be revelations, and sometimes shocking. Among the more “shocking” information was that birth was a normal, natural process that would take place whether a laboring woman was in a field or a fancy hospital. The mother could be alone, or she could be in the presence of loved ones, doulas, nurses, midwives, doctors, anesthesiologists, etc–but either way, that baby would come. When I think about humanity, I don’t think with my “taboo on”, as I like to say. That might mean I have never been fully engrained within my own culture, but mostly it allows me to suppress my knee-jerk reactions to things which is entirely liberating. This means:

  • I know it’s normal for a 4 year old to breastfeed (from a biological and world view)
  • I know the difference between gender and sex, even though applications for health insurance and people proclaiming the “gender” of their unborn child don’t
  • I know, baby-wearing and co-sleeping ARE NOT TRENDS OR FADS. They are basic human traits. On the contrary, cribs and strollers are modern trends.
  • I know giving birth completely numb while strapped to a bed and monitors with IVs coming out of you is not normal. Giving birth via major abdomnial surgery is even more abnormal. When I was in college I learned the cesarean rate was 1/4 births in America, and it terrified me. When I got pregnant in 2009 it was 1/3. There was no way I was going to be in a hospital.

I got pregnant a whole month and a half after we got married. We just decided to see what happened, and it happened fast! I knew I wanted to be in the care of midwives, but I couldn’t decide on a home birth or a birthing center; my main problem with having a home birth was that we live in an apartment and I didn’t want to disturb my neighbors (I’m so nice, right?). Luckily, my new cousin-in-law and bff Becky had already had two HBACs (and now 3, the last birth being breech twins) with a very reputable pair of midwives, Leslie Stewart and Catherine Williams of Home Birth Services of Los Angeles. I went to the orientation meeting, and they immediately addressed my concerns about having a baby in an apartment by telling us a story about delivering in a 80 sq ft studio in Venice, and that there isn’t really anything in a birth center that they couldn’t offer us. What with this news, the fact that I don’t have to get on a freeway to get to their offices, and that they delivered Mayim Bialik’s (I saw her at an LLL meeting once!), Cindy Crawford’s (a family friend used to be her nanny, and when I mentioned my midwives at a Christmas party as my aunt was flipping over the idea of me having a home birth, she said something along the lines of how great my midwives were; this calmed my aunt down), and Pamela Anderson’s kids (oddly enough my bff nannied her kids for a while, and helped her mom who was their housekeeper), how could I say no? But seriously, these women have delivered everyone’s HB baby in Los Angeles. It’s weird. Or awesome. A little of both. Anyway, we felt very happy to settle on our birthing plan.

The only thing I was nervous about was telling people about our home birth because nothing brings out the shocked and defensive side of even the most non-judgmental people like doing something taboo. For some reason, just saying this occasionally makes women who choose to birth otherwise to proclaim all their very sound reasons for wanting to give birth in a hospital. As if simply stating “I’m planning a home birth” means “I’m planning a home birth and I think you’re stupid for wanting to give birth in a hospital”. So if anyone is reading this and getting all fired up about all of their reasons for preferring a hospital birth, please don’t. And if you are one of the rare persons who would prefer a home birth but for medical reasons would never be allowed one and you’re feeling defensive about your circumstances, don’t. You are what a hospital and it’s highly trained staff is for. (However, if you are reading this and you’re getting fired up because you want a HB but it is illegal in your state, please; get fired up! Start a petition!). I think these things are very personal. A woman should give birth where she feels she will be the most comfortable and capable of giving birth. There are plenty of good, solid reasons why many women feel more comfortable in a hospital, but I don’t feel comfortable in hospitals. They creep me out, and I feel suffocated. There are also just as many good, solid reasons to give birth at home. Luckily, home birthing is becoming less and less taboo, so I don’t worry at all anymore when I talk about it.

Okay, on to the actual birth story…

More photos after the jump

22 Mos; napping in her crib!

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 10 Comments

Wow, 2 months away from two years old! We’ve noticed that she is certainly not a baby anymore…

The biggest change that has happened over the last month is that Laelia has fallen asleep  for her naps in her crib by herself for the past eight days. Now, many of my friends and family (and even my birthing instructor!) have said something about how sleep totally changes around two. This always sat well in my mind because it is the age when children really come out of babyhood and are considered little toddlers. If you have read this whole blog, you know that Laelia is not a crib sleeper. She would wake up the moment she felt her little body being lowered into the crib. For the most part, Laelia is extremely independent. She won’t let you feed her, she won’t let you brush her teeth, I have to pin her down to brush her hair, she must put on her own headbands and sunglasses, and now she is even trying to take over dressing and undressing herself. But when it came to sleep, she would only fall asleep on someone for the first year, and most of her second year. More photos after the jump

21 mos. 1 3/4 year!

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 2 Comments

My baby turned one-and-three-quarters on Tuesday! To celebrate, we decided to finally walk over and try out nothing bundt cakes which opened down the street from us a while ago. We tried their flavor of the month, lemon raspberry and it was delish; very moist, not too sweet (I hate that. I won’t even bother eating it if it is devoid of all flavor but sugar). And ALL of their frosting is butter cream cheese frosting! I’m happy we finally tried it, I’m sure we’ll go over there for a treat every now and again.

My new friend Irene joined us with her baby girl Sonora in the Ergo. She snapped this photo for us! Thanks! (And darn it, I wish I snapped a photo of them, Sonora has the cutest little face). I met her when she and her hubby were scoping out our apartment building before they moved out here from NYC. We ended up chatting for like 45 minutes or so! I have a lot of info on natural parenting resources in the area and I’m always happy to share it, so I can get chatty… We got coffee and just shopped around the second-hand stores and the handmade boutiques near my house. I scored a cute new dress from Buffalo Exchange, and Laelia finished her bundt cake in the stroller and was covered in crumbs…

Anyway, development!

At 21 months, Laelia:

- repeats pretty much every word you say. And her vocabulary has exploded.
- requests us to draw Foofa, Mickey or Toodee on her magna doodle daily. I’m a total pro at Foofa!
- says “mim-mi-ki!”–which I have finally figured out is just “mimmy, kitty”, or “Where’s Minnie? Where’s Hello Kitty”.
- TANTRUM! Oh boy. Hysterics over tiny things, but we are still managing to talk through them all, and I haven’t lost my cool yet, though I have been short with her, and let out loud sighs… Waiting for that moment when I break down in tears with her, but maybe I’ll be lucky and it won’t ever come?
- identifies some of her extended family; “pop-pop” & “gi-gi”. And can somehow name all the dogs in all the family! Still having trouble w/ “aunt” and “uncle”, much to their chagrin. When we arrive at my parents house, she will even start saying “pop! pop!”.

I don’t think there is much more to note here… I expect that she’ll just develop her language more until about 2. I plan on doing these posts until she is 24 months! Then maybe half-yearly. I do wish I started them earlier…

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