Archive for the ‘sleep’ Tag

Amusing Lessons of My First Year+ as a Parent   Leave a comment

In my first year+ as a parent I’ve found a few lessons to be particularly surprising and/or amusing. I’m listing a few of them here.

  1. It is possible to be incompetent at snapping. I had previously classed snaps as being basically the same level of easiness as velcro. I mean it’s just position and push, and then presto you’re done. No finger twists, no real paying attention to what you’re doing needed, right? Then I had a baby, whose clothing and diapers have lots of snaps on them, and now I think I’d give myself a “D” on my snapping proficiency. Even while he was a newborn I was amazed at how often I failed at my first attempt to secure a snap! And once he started wiggling? Oh goodness, that was a struggle. The thing that really amazed me was not that I had trouble positioning the two halves of the snap together, but that after correct positioning I would be unable to get the snaps pressed together. My zipper and button proficiencies are at least a solid “B”, but I dread to find out what my “tying someone else’s shoe” proficiency is.
  2. Everybody’s wrong with the whole “eating for two while pregnant” thing. I already knew before getting pregnant that the old saw was not true for pregnancy. I wasn’t eating for two, just me and a parasite. Although dealing with hunger was certainly an important part of pregnancy. But then he was born and I started breastfeeding him. I thought I was hungry before?! Nobody ever talks about “eating for two while nursing a newborn” but that’s absolutely true. He needed to do all that initial growing fueled by me, which meant that I discovered new depths of hunger. And I am still eating what seems to me still to be crazy portion sizes. Mike and I joke around about it because there have been meals when we made what used to be enough for two dinner and two lunch portions, and then I went and ate three portions for dinner.
  3. For as long as I can remember I have not been able to get to bed before midnight. Whether I started getting ready for bed at 10pm or 11:30pm, I could not be in bed with the lights out before midnight. And then I got pregnant and my bedtime moved up a few hours. I don’t actually remember what time I was usually getting to bed, but I think 9pm was pretty normal while I was pregnant. And 16 months after giving birth I’m still able to get to bed earlier. For the first several months of Conan’s life I was in bed with the lights out by 9:30 (granted there were 2-4 arousals to nurse during the night). As his night sleep periods lengthened that gradually moved to 10 and then 10:30. I started napping with him for his morning nap every day and my bedtime moved to between 10:30 and 11. Now that he’s not napping in the morning anymore, 10:30 is much more attractive and it’s still doable. I hope this lasts, I like getting to bed earlier.
  4. Baby’s offer a great posture reminder when they start sitting. When we stand up straight in our society, we tend to lift our chins and tilt our heads back (so that our line of sight is straight forward?). But if you ever have read about posture, we’re supposed to be lifting the crown of our heads, not our chins. If you look at a sitting baby in profile they look like they’re looking down but it’s really just that they naturally hold their heads so that their crown is the highest point. Whenever I really looked at Conan sitting, it always made me adjust my posture. Of course now he’s standing and walking and looking up at us a lot, so I don’t get that reminder as much.
  5. Another great reminder I get from Conan while I’m nursing him sometimes is to unclench my jaw. I’m guessing I’m not the only person who has a bad habit of clenching my jaw when concentrating on something, either mental or physical. But I noticed that when Conan started wiggling while nursing, he’d be waving his butt in the air, kicking his legs, moving his arms all over, etc, but there was no change to his jaw pressure or suction. If it had been me there’s no way I could have wiggled my butt like that and not tightened my jaw a bit. I’m very thankful that he is able to keep the jaw relaxed, or as relaxed as it can be considered while nursing.
  6. Babies don’t just get garlic breath, they exude garlic from their entire being. I have to confess that I’ve rarely if ever noticed garlic breath or any whiff of garlic around adults who have just consumed it. (Maybe because I’ve usually also had garlic?) But when we started putting a clove of roasted garlic in Conan’s food I noticed that the garlic smell was on his breath, in his pee, and just coming from his skin, too. And it took at least a couple days to clear!  It’s not just garlic, it’s roasted onion as well, so this must be all albums. I considered it to be an amusing smell of healthy eating.

Posted April 6, 2014 by mayakey in musings, parenting, pregnancy

Tagged with , , ,

Spring Detox – Time To Check Up On Good Health Habits   Leave a comment

Spring detox isn’t just about diet and supplements, although they are a major part, but it’s also about making sure that the body’s natural detoxification systems are supported normally. The plan that I follow/have developed over the years includes several things that are good everyday health habits that get taken for granted or left in the background much of the time. By this I mean habits like getting enough sleep, breathing deeply, and drinking enough water. These are all habits that go right along with being conscious of my body and its needs, but it is also really easy to get caught up in distractions and drift from an established habit. For me being really busy at work makes it harder for me to drink enough water since I get sucked into my computer, being busy at home makes it hard to get enough sleep, and any form of stress or anxiety can restrict breathing. Taking a few days to make sure I am actually DOING what I think I’m doing (although to be honest I don’t think I get enough sleep regularly) is really valuable for me in the context of living a conscious life.

These are all habits that support the body’s natural ability to detoxify. Sleep is when many organs recharge themselves, especially the liver and the skin, which are two major parts of the body’s detoxification system. Exhaling rids the body of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and any other gaseous contaminants. Water is obviously a major part of the body’s detoxification system since it is the vehicle the kidneys use to get rid of waste (urine).

Posted April 1, 2011 by mayakey in breathing, conscious living, health, self-care

Tagged with , , ,

Desperately Designing Curtains   Leave a comment

It’s funny how sometimes you can know something and forget it at the same time. I know that I do not sleep well at night when it is not completely dark. However, I seemed to forget that when I prioritized our wish list in our new house, and ranked curtains for the master bedroom as “luxury” items. It took an outside view to point out the “duh” considering that we have a street light that streams into our master bedroom window making it so bright that I could probably read at the window if I tried. At my doctor’s office last week our discussion focussed mostly on what I could do for the various contributing factors to my current minor depression so that my doctor could determine if she needs to adjust my supplements. She asked me to list some things that I could do to treat/take care of myself, and I mentioned the curtain project that sort of started at Christmas. Then I mentioned the street light. Installing curtains is now assigned as my homework to be done in 1 month. After all, not sleeping well night after night for over 5 months could certainly contribute to depression!

I doubt that I am the only person who unintentionally discounts things like the effect of the street light on my well being. There are lots of things that we *know* will help us to feel/be better/healthier, like exercising and not overindulging in fat/sugar/salt, but that we deliberately do anyway. This is a whole other class of things that aren’t necessarily commonly known, and that are great indications of how we tend to not pay close attention to our bodies and minds. Things like sleeping in true dark, drinking lots of water, or even not sitting with crossed legs. The negatives effects are subtle, and unless you have a commitment to listen to and care for yourself, they go unnoticed or ignored. Sometimes I wish there was such a thing as a “subtly unhealthy” audit to help bring them to the fore.

Now that I’ve had my “duh” moment, I am scrambling to get curtains. I spent a week visualizing curtains and shades and discussing my ideas with my husband to figure out what would work best. I did some online browsing for pre-made blackout curtains, but most of them are made of PVC, and of course none of them use organic fabrics. So I’m going to follow a suggestion that I saw somewhere a while ago, and do 2 or 3 layers of a fabric like velvet. Now I need to find fabrics. The local fabric store does not sell organic fabrics, so I’ve ordered swatches from some online organic fabric vendors. I also need to find hardware to make sure that we can actually hang the double tab-top curtains that I have in my mind.

Posted January 24, 2011 by mayakey in conscious living, health, home, self-care, shopping

Tagged with , , ,

No More Excuses, Just Do It   Leave a comment

I declared the month of October to be “No More Excuses, Just Do It” month for me. You know how sometimes you have to really focus on something that you want to change to get momentum for the change? You know how it’s harder to regain a good habit than it is to lose a good habit? Well that’s what I need to do, and I’m sick of internal excuses.

The relatively easy stuff that I am focusing on this month is regaining the good habits. During this whole move process I did manage to maintain lots of good habits, like eating a vegetable snack instead of crackers in the afternoons; but I also had to drop some good habits. Some things had to be dropped from my regular routine in order to have time to clean the new house, take care of transferring utilities etc., select and install the new flooring, pack, move, unpack, and take care of the little things that come up during a move. What got pushed aside? Running, strength training, meditating at night, and getting to bed before midnight. Since I was getting to bed late, I was having trouble getting up in the morning and not getting to work before 9, which then made evenings feel frantic. As soon as the unpacking was mostly done I started running again because the urge was so strong, but everything else is still a struggle to get back.

The more challenging stuff that I want to hit hard and make some changes are the lifestyle changes that I’ve been “trying” to make, but failing. These include journalling regularly, and not eating dinner in front of the TV. They were both goals from last February that I have not been able to meet yet. Not meeting them has become a psychological burden because they are important to me and I am upset with myself for not committing.

So, without further ado:

I, Maya Key, hereby commit, during this month of October 2010, to do the following:

  • Wake up with my alarm (7ish) and actually get out of bed
  • Get to work well before 9
  • Leave work by 5:45
  • Restart my strength training regimen
  • Not eat dinner in front of the TV
  • Meditate for 10 minutes every night
  • Get to bed by 11 or 11:30
  • Journal on weekends or as needed

Posted October 6, 2010 by mayakey in goals, psychology, spiritual practices

Tagged with , , , ,

From Pre-Pre to Pre   1 comment

I am now switching from pre-pre-pregnancy mode, to pre-pregnancy mode. “Pre-pre-pregnancy” was what I called the period of time when we hadn’t started trying yet, but were getting ready for pregnancy. I made a number of changes to diet and lifestyle during this time, and there were some minor other things like buying a house :-). Originally I figured this phase would last 6-months, since my husband promised me that we could start trying at the beginning of 2010. But with the sloooooooow progress that comes with buying a short sale, at the beginning of the year we were still waiting to hear from the bank. I was not at all comfortable getting pregnant while experiencing the psychological stress that comes with being unsure of our current (previous) living situation and being unsure if and when our offer on the house would be accepted, combined with the stress of being completely swamped at work and slightly out of my comfort range.

Most of my efforts in the pre-pre phase were devoted to getting my hormone levels under control. My previous naturopath theorized that I had leaky gut and my body was reabsorbing too much estrogen. The indicators for leaky gut were hormonal (cyclical) acne and a variety of food allergies. He prescribed some dietary changes, but I couldn’t commit to the more drastic dietary changes (completely eliminating white bread and pasta), and the homeopathic remedies were insufficient. The tests that my new naturopath prescribed included a month-long hormone test, which found that my estrogen is off the charts high while my DHEA (precursor) is within normal range. That would be consistent with the theory that my body isn’t making extra estrogen, it’s absorbing it.

Even before seeing the new naturopath I tried using my hormonal acne as a gauge for getting my hormones in check. My strategy was five-fold:

  1. Decrease (added) sugar consumption to the recommended 5 tsp/day. This took all of two weeks of keeping track of my sugar consumption to realize that most days I wasn’t consuming more than 2 tsp of added sugars.
  2. Eliminate (to 95%) meat and dairy that are not rBST-free (synthetic growth hormone). We were already essentially hormone-free at home, with organic milk and yogurt, mostly organic or hormone-free cheese, and only hormone-free meat. What made this step big is that I included food eaten outside of the house (restaurants, etc.). I’ve been able to keep this one up pretty well over the last year, but I have gotten a little bit more lax on cheese and the occasional run to Coldstone Creamery. I’m hoping that the bacteria that make the cheese will have metabolized more of the residual rBST. It is absolutely painful not being able to order beef or lamb in most restaurants, though.
  3. Overcome my cracker addiction. I used to eat so many boxes of crackers at work and at home, and most of them were made from white flour. But with the cold turkey approach, I got over that. First at work, and then at home. It was hard, but a year later I am quite happy. Even when I was really stressed right after we closed on the house I didn’t relapse into the comfort of crackers. I am so very proud of myself.
  4. Increase my fruit and vegetable consumption. This went along with overcoming the cracker addiction since I replaced snacking on crackers with snacking of fresh vegetables. Needless to say our grocery store budget went down and our farmer’s market budget went up.
  5. Go to sleep between 11 and 11:30. My understanding is that the liver regenerates at around midnight, so this strategy was on the theory that I wanted a really well-functioning liver to remove excess hormones.

My new naturopath added a couple of supplements to go beyond what dietary changes can do. Glutamine powder in my smoothies should help the walls of my digestive tract to heal, thus preventing leaky gut. Another supplement supports metabolism of hormones. She wanted me to take that one for two full months since it takes a couple of months for hormone levels to adjust, but that two month mark will be right after I expect to ovulate next. Hopefully it’ll be good enough.

Posted October 2, 2010 by mayakey in food, health, pre-pregnancy

Tagged with , , , , , , ,