Monday, August 25, 2014

Keeping our cable package and screen time.

For years I've been pushing to get rid of cable TV. Mainly to save money but also to cut screen time.

There is a whole body of literature on the effects of television and screen time on health, wellbeing, etc. Especially when it comes to children. I won't get into that here but when B was a baby, I tried hard to limit screen time - even passive screen time. I'll admit now that I was a bit on the extreme side. I would get agitated when R would watch TV with B in the same room. With N we took a far more relaxed approach since B was starting to watch some educational programming and it was difficult to let one watch and not the other. As a child I spent hours in front of the television each day and so did R. We also grew up with multiple video game systems, and the beginning of personal computers and the internet. Our parents never seemed concerned about screen time but then again we also spent a ton of time playing outside.

We don't have strict rules around screen time in our house. We have two TVs. One in our bedroom is rarely used. We have an older PS3 which we mostly use to play movies from an external hard drive. We own a few kid-friendly video games for the PS3 but they aren't often played.
The boys each have older model Nintendo DS systems. One was dropped in a bucket of mop water and didn't turn on so we bought a replacement the next year as a Christmas gift. However, the broken system dried out and magically worked again. These mostly get used for the cameras and sometimes the odd game on a long car ride.  We also have a Leap Pad (also a Christmas gift) with some educational games which N will sit and play with on occasion.

Given the opportunity, my kids would rather go outside and play than sit in front of a screen but the option has been there either way. It's funny though because I notice a big difference between my two oldest boys. B isn't much of a TV watcher and craves constant social interaction. N will happily sit down to watch TV. He'll call out answers when watching one of his favourite shows, Team Umizoomi, and I'll often hear him reenacting scenes with scenarios and/or characters from a TV show in independent play.

So..we've decided to keep cable. I'm a big fan of living life with intention and I'm glad we're making an intentional decision to choose to invest in cable. R enjoys coming home from work and watching TV to unwind after working hard outside all day long. Just like I enjoy reading blogs or connecting with friends on social media. Cutting cable wouldn't really affect me at all since I rarely watch but it is a pastime the rest of my family enjoys.  I find now that I actually like coming home and seeing the boys completely into programs like Shark Week on Discovery Channel or How It's Made. I love hearing them ask all sorts of questions about the shows they've watched. Retrospectively, I think the TV was a fantastic educational tool for me growing up. I remember watching Sesame Street at my baby sitters house and the Magic School Bus. When I got a bit older, I learned many life lessons watching shows like Full House or the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I hope that our family can benefit from having cable TV while avoiding the trap of sedentary life style, etc. If we see the scale start to tip then we'll have to reassess.

I'm curious how others feel about television and screen time and whether you always felt the same way. Do you have cable? Any rules around TV in your house?

Monday, August 18, 2014

A favourite fashion accessory

Remember when I blogged about my wardrobe returning to work? Well, September is coming up and I'll have to get a little more formal at work. I used to wear these a ton but forgot about them until recently:

I love a good broach. I think they totally class up an outfit and make it feel more formal. The green oval was my grandmothers. I prefer broaches to wearing other cheap accessories like necklaces and bracelets. I am extremely sensitive (especially ears) so don't tend to wear much jewellery since the inexpensive stuff sometimes causes an allergic reaction and I don't own very many more precious pieces. I've seen a lot of articles floating around lately about toxins in cheap jewellery. I like that even a cheap broach doesn't rest directly on your skin all day.

Do you have any tricks for upping the formality of an outfit/appearance?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

4 Months

I don't know where the time has gone. Somehow it feels like just yesterday we were meeting Noah for the first time and now he is a third of the way to one year old! Being third time parents, I think we are so much more relaxed this time around. It has been such a different experience with Noah.

At 4 months, Noah:

- Is a good sleeper. Most nights will sleep a solid 8+ hours. Writing this feels so wrong because I know there are so many other new moms out there who are operating on some serious sleep deprivation. I've been there too. I wish I had the magic formula for getting a baby to sleep through the night to share but really, I feel like it is just a fluke! Also, this kid loves his crib. We were away for the long weekend so shared a bed. He was up several times through the night eating. Since he has been back in his crib at home, he has slept nearly 10 hours straight each night. We try to put him down as much as we can for naps in his crib.

- Laughs!... and laughs and laughs. It is just the sweetest sound in the world. He is very ticklish and will grin and coo in anticipation of you touching his armpit or neck while you're changing his clothes. Otherwise, he is becoming very vocal and loves to "chat" and shriek.

- Enjoys time in the Jolly Jumper and is actually moving around now in there. His head and neck control is amazing.

- Still goes easily from breast to bottle. Pumping is going well. He generally goes through 2-3 bottles in the morning and 1-2 in the afternoon. Each about 3oz. Along with our lunchtime feeding. So anywhere from about 15-18 oz throughout the work day. He does still do some cluster feeding in the evenings. This week we got the highchair out and washed it up so he can start sitting with us at the table while we eat dinner. Last night was his first night with us at the table and it was so fun!

- Is a thumb/hand sucker. He'll often roll his head to the side and put his hand to his mouth when I lay him down in his crib to go to sleep.

As for my own postpartum body, I'm back wearing about 3/4 of my regular clothes. My abdomen is feeling noticeably better from the c-section but still the tiniest bit tender to the touch or if I stretch too much. I'm anxious to feel more comfortable in my body again but I'm still not feeling there yet for getting into an exercise routine. This time around I want to be kind to myself and allow a generous amount of time to fully heal physically and emotionally. I'm also still sustaining a not so little human being so my body isn't completely mine. I've heard it takes nearly a year to have a baby so it should take about that long to "get your body back" and I think there is a lot of truth there.