Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy First Birthday Karina!

We celebrated very simply with cake then dinner. Just the 4 of us. Karina was perfectly happy with her brother blowing out the candle and watching everyone eat cake. She threw hers on the floor. She found it interesting to play with but wasn't keen on the texture I guess. It was a lemon cake. She probably would have loved just plain whipped cream or something a little lighter.

I can't believe our little baby girl is 1. The year has gone by so quickly (of course) and its been quite the transformation for our little family. Thank goodness we had another baby! Thank goodness Karina and Jonas have each other! My heart is bursting with happiness when I sit back and watch the two play together. They have their own way of communicating and they are so amazingly close its like they have known each other forever. Karina is so upset when Jonas leaves without her; when he goes with his dad on a special outing or when he goes to school. She yells and screams as he leaves. Jonas is never happier than seeing his little sisters face first thing in the morning. He is such a slow boy when waking up and can easily turn very cranky and upset if pushed to get up too quickly. But if Karina is nearby and makes her way to him, he has the biggest smile. She has been such a serious little baby and never did like to be held by anyone besides mom or dad. She will go up to others on her own, but will become upset if anyone moves in and tries to hold her. So very different from Jonas yet they get along so well. He usually includes her in his play, whether it be playing store or ball he always has a role for her. Actually, there are times when he doesn't want her around when he is building something intricate and she just wants to get right in and pull whatever it is apart. This also works out fine because Karina is really independent in her own play and can keep herself entertained for long periods of time.

Karina looks just like me when I was a baby and toddler. She might have wavier hair, but she has lots of it just like me and it is quickly going from totally dark to quite light, as mine did. According to my baby book, I was a few pounds lighter but I think we were about the same length. I will have to check on that. She is very compact and solid. She has huge cheeks just like I did. They last forever! haha.

We have had some changes over the past month. I knew that it was coming close to the time where Karina would begin 'school' a couple of times a week at the SFU childcare center. The teachers and centers are excellent up here but I knew it wouldn't be in the best interest for Karina to be in daycare considering how she is still not very interested in being with anyone but her mom and dad or Jonas. Such a completely different experience compared to Jonas - he was more than ready to be out with other adults at a very young age. He began daycare at around a year and eight months for 3 days a week and totally thrived. I had felt that he needed the external stimulation and that I couldn't provide everything he needed to really be fulfilled. When Karina was born we moved him up to 4 days a week. I never felt so great about that because I felt it was too much for him, but really, he has wonderful friends, and it was a healthy thing for me and Karina. So the alternative has been to find a nanny, which was easy to do in our city. I had so many people interested in the position that I decided to really narrow my search down to hiring someone with ECE certificate. We found a wonderful woman with lots of experience who is also in school to become an elementary school teacher. We have just spent three weeks slowly easing Karina into this new situation and its been really great. Jonas is now in SFU Childcare 2 days a week and our nanny is here for another 2 days a week with both kids. Everyone really does win in this situation. Karina learns to trust and form a relationship with another adult while getting to be close to her big bro, Jonas gets to be at home with his little sis and also gets some one on one with another adult; I get to work on my course and meet with potential clients and of course Jordan has a happier wife and the security of knowing both the kids are being well taken care of. We are so lucky to be able to make this situation work for us. Daycare is great for some kids but definitely not for all. Jonas has stayed in for two days a week because he looks forward to all of the activities and friends he gets to see. Karina can start when she is ready. I am a better mother when I am able to work outside the home part time. I don't do so well being an all the time stay at home mom. The first year with baby is great, but I need other stimulation after that point. I am so happy with the community I am involved with right now and all the birth work that I am doing. It is just so progressive here and there is so much opportunity for experience. I finally created a website for myself and published it before a final polishing, but I was just too excited and I was getting abit burnt out trying to work at it at night while the kids were sleeping. Its up and running and not perfect, but thats ok for now. www.valeryebenner.com. Although we have a nanny and daycare, it still feels as if Jordan is at home so much. This is why we chose to live at the university - I guess it really was always in the plans. Even when we decided to build our Island house, we both decided to move away to continue our education and start our family at the same time. The environment here is so rich and our lives our so full, we wanted our kids to experience this life as well. Jordan is busy with research and lecturing yet he still seems to be at home and available most of the time. It has worked out well. We both agree that its not about the money you make and the stuff you buy, its about the time you spend together as a family. We each have our separate work and we feel that that is what makes our lives together so much more rich. We are fortuante enough to only have one car, we don't commute and we walk almost everywhere. Public transit is simple and usually more convenient. We have a new car and that was because we needed something we could rely on, especially with my work and the hours I am driving at. Women usually give birth at night and when a woman needs me, I need to get to her quickly.

I may start a more work related blog soonish. I find myself drawn more to maternity blogs lately than the mothering ones I was once drawn to. We'll see. I have also been reading alot of minimalist style blogs as well - most notably the Minimalist Mom blog located on my side panel blogroll. Its a new interest of mine over the past year. And of course the Gloria Lemay blog which I wish had more blogs lately - but I have been taking her Midwifery course which has been alot of fun while being at home!

Karina is now sound asleep. She has been night weaned for a few months now and sleeps easily through the night. Her crib is next to our bed and I am so happy with this arrangement. By child #2, I must say I was happy to have my bed with my man back sooner than with #1. Karina, being so different from Jonas, seemed just fine to have her own crib and space to herself to flop around. Such different children....funny how you can see the differences in personality by the way they breastfeed and sleep.

The boys are at the movies. We asked Jonas to have a nap and if he did, he would get to go to the movies. He has only been to one other movie and then a whole bunch of the Imax ones at Science World. He fell asleep in the first minutes of The Hubble a few weeks ago at the Imax. So this afternoon, he finally fell asleep while listening to an audio story and staring at his fort. Both kids napped, Jordan folded laundry and watched basketball and I got to do some reading for my course. How nice is that??

I will post again soon with some pics of the little darlings.

2 comments:

Eva said...

Love the new blog background (I really have to change mine after 4 or 5 years of the same) AND your new website!
It's so amazing how different personalities and needs are identifiable so early with our babies isn't it? I am so glad you've found a set-up that's working for your family. I still wish you'd been back to doula-ing in September when I had my baby (even though I did adore Rheja!). I am going to send a link to a pregnant friend I met with today who considering a doula.

VBenner said...

Oh! You had Rheja - I met her a while back at one of the prenatal clinics I work at. I think she is now a Childbirth Educator as well.
We are still getting used to our new set up but it feels great to be able to focus on my own work without any interuptions!