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Pregnancy: books II

I finished these two books last week. Here are my review and summary of them.

The happiest baby on the Block

Coco’s review: this is a very practical book teaching you how to sooth a crying baby during the first 3 months. The method seems simple to do and why it is effective. I’m definitely trying it out once Sofia is borne.

Key points:

  • Babies are born three months too soon. So we need to recreate the womb environment.
  • The 5 “S’s” to turn on your baby’s calming reflex: Swaddling (tight wrapping), Side/Stomach (laying a baby on her side or stomach), Shushing (loud white noise), Swinging (rhythmic, jiggly motion) and Sucking (sucking on anything from your nipple or finger to a pacifier).
  • Observe other babies expressions to figure out what she/he wants when crying: Is your baby opening his mouth and rooting? (this could indicate hunger); is he yawning, rubbing his eyes, moving his head from side to side, or staring out with droopy eyelids? (this could indicate fatigue); does he seem to be intentionally looking away from you or starting to hiccup? (this could indicate overstimulation); is he making facial grimaces and trying to bear down? (this could indicate intestinal discomfort).
  • Colic remedy: 5 “S’s”, massage, walks outside, warming,Β 
  • Few more sleep tips: fee your baby more during the day, feed him in a quiet room so he doesn’t get distracted and refuse to eat, give him “cluster feedings” (several meals given every two hours in the late afternoon and early evening to load him up with calories), “top off the tank” by waking him for a midnight feeding.Β 

Coco’s review:Β I has some interesting points. But the writing and how he presents the ideas is not very organized. By showing a lot much research evidence, sometimes it makes readers (me) forgets about the main point. The good thing is that he has a key points summary at the end of each chapter.

Key points:

  • During pregnancy don’t waste your money on products claiming to improve a pre born baby’s IQ, temperament, or personality. None of them have been proven to work.
  • Brain boosters at second half of the pregnancy: gaining the proper weight, eating a balanced diet, exercising moderately, and reducing stress.
  • Hostility between parents can harm a newborn’s developing brain and nervous system.
  • Regularly practice the empathy reflex. As your first response to any emotional situation, describe the emotional changes you think you see, and then make a guess as to their origins.
  • Intelligence has many ingredients, not just IQ, it includes a desire to explore, self-control, creativity, and communication skills.
  • What helps early learning: breast-feeding, talking to your children -a lot, guided play everyday, and praising effort rather than intelligence.
  • What hurts early learning: overexposure to television (keep the TV off before age 2), a sedentary lifestyle, and limited face-to-face interaction.
  • Pressuring children to learn a subject before their brains are ready is only harmful.
  • The single best predictor of happiness? Having friends.
  • Children who learn to regulate their emotions have deeper friendships than those who don’t.
  • HOw you deal with your toddler’s intense emotions is a huge factor in how happy your child will be as an adult.
  • Acknowledge, name, and empathize with emotions. Save judgement for any unacceptable behavior arising from emotions.
  • One parenting style is most likely to produce terrific kids: demanding and warm. These parents are demanding, but they care a lot about their kids. They explain their rules and encourage their children to state their reactions to them. They encourage high levels of independence, yet see the children comply with family values.
  • Moral behavior develops over time and requires a particular kind of guidance.
  • How parents handle rules is key: realistic, clear expectations, consistent, swift consequences for rule violation; and praise for good behavior.
  • Children are more likely to internalize moral behavior if parents explain why a rule and its consequences exist.
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Life: a great week

  • Highlight of weekdays: very productive at work. I only had lunch meeting once, the other days I ate at office and got back to work right away. The feeling of being productive and accomplish something everyday, even it’s small, is really satisfying and rewarding. πŸ™‚
  • Saturday: I organized a lunch at home with my best friends from grad school. One of them is leaving the country next weekend, so I wanted us to get together once more before he departs to Canada. Since the weather was nice, we had it at the deck with our newly purchased outdoor set. I prepared some simple food like Argentinian Empanadas

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used special dough for it

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a filling made with onion, grounded beef, hard boiled eggs and olives.

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Some appetizers

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trader joe’s roasted pepper hummus

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Baba ganush

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tapenade (I just mixed chopped black olives with olive oil)

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nuts, antipasto, brie cheese with fruit preserve

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these products were sent by the company for me to review

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my friend Belen also made some empanadas, these are open faced spinach and parmesan empanadas

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I also made a corn frittate (recipe to come)

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the table is set

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my dear friends

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and a salad made with mixed greens, cherry tomato, avocado, goat cheese, balsamic and olive.

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My plate

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the empanadas turned out to be great! My friends loved Β it and kept telling me how tasty it was.

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And we had three desserts. One made by my friend’s wife Flopy, a coconut dulce de leche pie, which was amazing!!!

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a fruit tart from Whole Food

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and an apple pie, also from WF.

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the group! we’ve been through so much together… 5-6 years of friendship under hard-working grad school environment. You can really make life long friends there! πŸ™‚

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It was a great lunch. The food was great, the weather was perfect to be outdoor. And the best of all, the company of course!!! I’m a bit sad that two of my friends found job outside the US, I’ll be missing them so much!!!!

  • Sunday: I finished the book that I started on Saturday! Yes, I finished it in two days!!! It is a great book, so inspiring! Maybe I’ll do a review next weekend. πŸ™‚ So many good thoughts to share with you! πŸ™‚

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I did a lot of food preparation in the afternoon, in addition to a nap! I’m back to chinese-food! You’ll see! πŸ™‚

Hope everyone had a great weekend as well.

Q1: Do you have good friends from school? How do you keep in touch with them when you graduate?Β 

Q2: Highlight of your week?

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Life: weekend by myself

It was my first weekend by myself because Star left on Tuesday 5AM. It’s the first time we’ll be separated for more than 3 months!!! Compared to the 4 years separation we had before when I was in grad school, 3 months seems not a big deal. But we both know this is not true. After living together for one year and half, we’ve get used to live with each other and we’ve became more indispensable to the other. It was a hard decision for us to do this because this time I’m pregnant and it’s a valuable time to be together. But… tough decisions are still decisions one needs to make. We’re certain that although this is quite a sacrifice, it’s for the best.

The good thing is now that I’m working, so basically I’m literally “alone” only on weekends. During the week, I arrive home after 6pm and go to bed around 10pm, so it doesn’t feel so lonely. But at weekends, things get harder because usually we do things together. Fortunately I’m an independent girl by nature, I can easily find things to do by myself and not feel too lonely. In addition, I have good friends to meet with. πŸ™‚

It was a 5-day week, four of them involved training, so I had to leave home early. I didn’t sleep well during the week, so over the weekend I had to catch up with sleep.

Saturday: I spent the morning working out/showering/breakfast and nap! And then by 11:45 am Sarah came to my place to go to check out the gender of the baby together. Well… it’s official. We’re having a GIRL!!! πŸ˜† And I’ve decided to decorate the nursery in lilac! πŸ˜‰ Very excited about the news! Can’t wait to dress her like a little princess.

After that, we wanted to watch the movie What to expect when you’re expecting, a perfect movie for both mom-to-bes. Due to some traffic issues, we missed the one we planned to see. Sarah was tired, needing a nap urgently (she’s suffering much more the first trimester than me), so I took her home. After having lunch at home and a short nap, I decided to go to cinema by myself. Why not? There’s nothing wrong going alone to the cinema. Other than some strange view of strangers (who I don’t care), it’s the most convenient thing to do, right? You don’t need to agree with anyone about what to watch and when. Just go and enjoy the movie!

The movie is just average, if I’m not pregnant, I’d say it’s a bad movie. It illustrates well the various situations of mom-to-bes, one that got pregnant accidentally and later on had a miscarriage; one that has the worst symptoms; the fitness guru that manages to continue her life when pregnant; the perfect pregnant lady that kept to be as pretty as before pregnancy and a woman waiting to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. These are all possible situations of the pregnancy. It could happen to any of us. But the end result is the same, no matter how easy or how difficult is the pregnancy, the moment the baby arrives, everything seems so irrelevant.

After the movie, I went to Tjs and WF to buy some necessities. By the time I arrived home it was almost 8pm. I had dinner and was exhausted for unknown reasons. Went to bed quite early for weekend standard (11 pm) but slept like a baby.

Sunday: I hired a cleaning lady to come every two weeks and today it was her first time. The least I want to do over weekend is cleaning, so having someone to do the work is extremely important. She spent good 5 hours cleaning the entire house throughly. While she cleaned, I continued to read a work-related book, which I find it so interesting to be worth reading for leisure.

I’m economist and have a vague idea of the problem of poverty, its possible causes and consequences. But this book is eye opening to me, there are so many small issues that one would ignore when designing policies to fight poverty, that would dampen any positive effect.

Oh… I started to read these girls before bed time.

so far so good. Nothing deep but entertaining.

After the cleaning lady left, I had lunch and another nap! I thought about going to do the remaining groceries, but I’m so lazy, all I want to do is lie on the couch and read. In addition, I have a dinner party at my friends house to celebrate their graduation. So I’d better rest and be prepared for the party! πŸ™‚

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