Happy Friday! Tomorrow, I’m off to Pennsylvania to meet up with my blogger buddies- Shannon, Bethany, Karen and Lauren. And I’ll be meeting some new peeps too while we craft. That was not a typo. I will be partaking in crafting. Quite obviously, I will also be partaking in making a fool of myself. If you’ve seen these ladies’ blogs, then you know they got the craft gene. I got the “can’t even scrunch up tissue paper right” gene and I tend to break out in hives when stepping into a Michael’s. This should be interesting….
We met Colin’s new doctor this past Friday at Colin’s 18 month appointment. This is his 3rd doctor. We’ve loved them all. And usually, it’s a pretty painless experience, save for the shots. The 2 day appointment, the 3 month appointment, the 6 month check up, the 9 month, 12 month, you understand. Every three months we go through this drill, shots and all. And then there is the fresh hell that is the 18 month appointment.
Colin’s officially pre-gaming for the terrible twos. I know this is a fact because the doctor told me so. That’s what we call an official medical diagnosis. She came to this conclusion as my son writhed on the floor, screaming his little blonde head off.
But let me back up. We had such a promising start after all. Since the weather was gorgeous, we decided to walk over to the office. Colin happily hopped into the stroller, we strapped ourselves in, and headed off. On the way, Colin pointed to flowers and trees, identifying each. We arrived to our destination, and the obstacle course began.
First, it’s a three story building. With no elevator. Whose bright idea was that? So, in my fitness fever, I decided to lug the Bugaboo up two flights of stairs to the office. I only almost fell backwards once.
Once I arrived, I was told pleasantly by the receptionist, “Dr. Whositwhatsit is on the third floor.” Super.
One more flight of stairs, we check in, Colin happily taking to the floor to play with the toys that abound. The office is pretty much empty, so I don’t have to referee sharing. This is great. A nurse shows almost immediately (no wait!) and we are ushered to our room. Colin is allowed to bring one toy, and happily follows the nurse. Until he sees the new toy-less room. At the same time he turns around and makes a run for it, I realize my child is actually quite clever. I coax him into the room, which will now be known as the seventh ring of hell. Not only because it was hot and miserable in there. But because this is where my child transformed into Lucifer.
Immediately he assumed the tantrum position: head face down, arms and legs splayed, kicking and crying, sometimes working his way around in a circle. I answer the nurse’s questions when I can understand them, screaming my answers. “HE SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT! WHOLE MILK? YES!” She assumes he will quiet down within five minutes. We all know what assuming does.
We come to the conclusions that my son is about 26 pounds, give or take 5, and could be anywhere from 31 inches tall to 34 inches tall. Good enough, I’ll take it. Just so I can buy clothes for the kid, if nothing else.
He continues his wordless tirade for the next 35 minutes, as the doctor visits with us. I am simultaneously impressed with his fortitude and morbidly embarrassed. She and I speak loudly over the din about my concerns, one of which may surprise you: my son’s tantrums. He very rarely has a tantrum of this magnitude, though, and I am rightly horrified. The interesting part is that he has positioned himself directly under the doctor as he tantrums. I am perplexed. As we discuss how I believe his comprehension is far beyond his verbal skills, he actually takes a quick breath break to say “No, no no no.” And then? He abruptly stops his tantrum. Apparently he is unhappy with my take on his development. It’s time to intervene.
He takes the train toy he was playing with and begins to show off. “Train! Coo- Coo!” And then he talks a blue streak to us. Of course, we have no idea what in the world he is saying, but at least he has proven to the doctor that he has some verbal skills.
Check ups are stressful enough without tantrums. You meet with a doctor every few months, and sometimes even that frequency seems too spread out. Colin changes daily. His behaviors, his skills, his appearance even. I will put one kid to bed in the evening, and I am greeted by another in the morning, brightly greeting me with a “HI!” You visit relatives and their innocuous questions leave you reeling, wondering if your child is challenged in areas. Having a 30 minute appointment once every three or six months is overwhelming. There are issues you need to address and answers you seek when the inter webs isn’t helping. You need that time. You need that attention. You need to be comforted. Much like a toddler.
One of the things I have learned from being a parent is that there are two words that every parent longs to hear from medical professionals: “Totally normal.”
As our doctor bids us goodbye, Colin enthusiastically returns her farewell. When she hands him stickers of Lightning McQueen and Mater, he responds “Oh WOW! Tow truck! Cah!”
He has calmed down just in time for his shot and for us to leave. Terrific.
We are told back at the receptionist that they will see us for our next appointment when Colin turns two. I nearly pass out on the spot. But then I remember I need to lug my 26 pounder with his stroller back down three flights of stairs. I square my shoulders, trade some stickers for the lobby toys, and tell them, “I’ll have to call you.”
I might have ordered my son a leash, but I *promise* I did not order my son a pink leash. There’s going too far and then there’s usually what I do. And this is even beyond that. Because this pink? Ain’t no Nantucket Red.
We live on the corner of a busy street. This is great for Colin, as he loves to watch the cars zoom by, and every now and then, we get to watch an ambulance go by, siren blazing. Someone else’s misfortune is pretty much the highlight of my son’s day.
Though our street itself can be pretty quiet, it’s become clear to us that being on the corner provides a less than ideal yard for us to play outside with Colin. Especially, when we have a partial fence. Yup. Partial. The missing portion? Turns out it’s vital. So that kids don’t run onto Main Street.
And would you believe? Our town doesn’t have a playground for kids. Or at least, none that I have found. And I’ve asked around. The closest one is in the town over. All I want is to open our back sliding door, put the dog on the long leash and run around the yard. Preferably not into oncoming traffic.
We are trying to teach the despot to follow our rules for playing outside. He must stay on the grass. No going onto the sidewalk. We try and guide him, asking him to hold our hand. This is met with flailing, and eventually attempts to run into the street. Which is only a marginally worse outcome than the tantrum that is sure to erupt. So even though the weather has been GORGEOUS, I find myself dreading stepping out the door.
So I did what every good mother does. I bought my kid a leash.
Yes, our child has a leash. Yes, so does our dog.
The simple fact is we need to teach Colin how to walk with us, holding our hand. And since I am by my lonesome during the week, and would rather keep tantrums to a minimum while Kase is home, I figured it’s time to “teach” Colin how to walk in public. And for that, I need backup. The leash is my backup. If Colin unlatches himself from my death grip, then the leash will act as a safety tether of sorts. Until we can get the handholding while not running into the street under control.
I assume that like our dog, Fenway, Colin will pull on said harness. I hope of course, that he does not choke himself to death, like our dog sometimes does, hacking up a tongue every now and then while on walks simply because he is too excited to take a leisurely stroll. I hope that Colin does not stop at every tree and feel the need to mark his territory. And of course, I hope that unlike Fenway, Colin does not lurch into the street at oncoming cars. But that’s my experience thus far with leashes.
Hopefully toddlers are different. But maybe not. When we were using a trainer to teach Fenway how to walk on a leash in NYC he recommended we use treats every few steps to encourage him. Maybe just in case, I should bring along a bag of Kix and toss them at Colin when he holds my hand. No?
I remember hearing friends talk about their children and thinking to myself “Fenway does that!” But of course, common etiquette tells us we should not compare human children to our sweet canine companions. But the longer I’m a parent? It is clear to me, children ARE like dogs. There is a reason my mother once asked me if I needed to go out and “piddle.” Well, she didn’t ask me, she asked our dog, who she referred to in that moment as Kate. My dog’s name was Holly. Alternately, more than half of the time growing up, one of my siblings would be called “Holly.” (The other half we were called by a sibling’s name. 7 kids. You know.) As for me? I’m pretty sure Fenway still has the upper hand when it comes to intelligence between the two. After all, Colin can’t ever seem to find his sippy cup when it’s right in front of his face, whereas Fenway can pretty much sniff out week old milk from the couch cushions. Colin tries to get into the trash, much like my beloved dog. So it could be a tie. I’m just saying. Dog. Child. Same difference.
Back to the leash. It’s really called a harness, but whatever. Tomato, tomahto. The bottom line is I’ve become the parent I scoffed at in the mall. The one whose demon child looks as if he is running on a treadmill, frothing at the mouth, tethered to his parent with a scary monkey backpack, the parent looking worn down, a thought bubble over his head asking “Why did we think coming to the mall with a toddler on a Saturday was a good idea, again?”
So tell me. Leashes. Harnesses. Whatever. Ever used one? Publicly? Or should we practice in the house- the leash being my secret shame?
I am Irish. And by that I mean, I am deathly pale. Technically, I am a European mutt, but I like to tell people I am Irish to explain my pallor. Although it came in handy in high school when I had math tests and could go to the nurse and say I wasn’t feeling well. Never gave me a second look. Just gave me a note to go home. That was a nice benefit.
Anyway. I like holidays around here. Any excuse to hit up the children’s section of Target and pick up a Dublin tee shirt is my idea of a good time.
Happy Monday! We managed to survive St. Patrick’s Day festivities, late bedtimes, car rides and a trip to the duck pond this weekend, sans Pacifier. Mind you, I did not say sans Tantrums. But we did survive those tantrums without a paci. People, I think this crazy plan might just work.
As I discussed earlier, Thursday night I took a safety pin (it’s what I had. Don’t judge me. Everything was sanitized. Not that I should have to explain that….) and sabotage the three remaining pacifiers. As I held them, I have to be honest. I decided my pin hole pricking wasn’t doing much more than my child’s chompers already had. That thing was already compromised. But I’m a rules follower. And the little online pamphlet told me at this point my child would only tolerate pin hole pricks. So prick away I did.
As I gave the paci to Colin that night, he didn’t seem any the wiser. Sucking away. Happy as can be. Naturally, I went downstairs after turning the lights out and furiously poked more holes in the remaining pacifiers not in use. That’ll teach him to enjoy a Janky Paci.
On Friday night, he didn’t seem as happy with his new “now 50% more holes!” pacifier. He took it to bed, but upon waking in the middle of the night, quickly discarded it as a soothing tool. Fine by me. So long as he went to bed. And he did. Miracle? Maybe, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up. St. Patrick’s Day was the next day and we were headed to Foxboro for children’s activities and games. Which translates in ParentLand to “Mayhem and Tantrums.” You can look that up in the Parent Dictionary, which you receive upon discharge from the Labor and Delivery.
At Foxboro, we freed the despot from the confines of his stroller to play with the sidewalk chalk with some other kiddos. We chose this activity for the simple fact that it was down a dead-end walkway. Which means we had a little bit of control as to his wild running about. Especially if Kase and I formed a human chain link fence. Of course, we knew as we took him from the stroller that we were bound to meet a tantrum when replacing him. The things we parents do for our children. By which I mean: elevated blood pressure for 30-45 minute periods of time when anticipating tantrums. I had the sabotaged paci at the ready. Sure enough, Colin wasn’t happy to go back to his stroller, and he was even more pissed when I pried the sidewalk chalk from his vise-like grip. More than that, he was none too happy with janked up paci. He didn’t take it to calm down. The kid managed to calm down on his own. Not immediately, but he calmed down. We had a great dinner, and even after a late bedtime due to the first annual St. Patrick’s Day Dance Party (in our kitchen), paci was taken, but merely played with.
On Sunday, I took the remaining pacifiers and continued onto step two of the sabotage plan which entailed snipping the very tips off the ends. So much catharsis can be accomplished with scissors, don’t you think? We were also scheduled to travel out to Western Massachusetts to visit with family and friends. Colin napped for 15 minutes in the car, but decided that was enough. So by 11am, I knew the day was going to be a disaster. And it was. I love being right. Wait…..
We had a nice lunch and then headed to a large park to see the ducks. On our way to the park, across the greatest expanse known to man, we encountered no fewer that 1, 374 balls- soccer, basketball, croquet, you name it. “No Colin! That is not yours!” Colin “tebows” and begins the curled lip cry. Repeat. The whole way to the ducks.
We get to the ducks where we can take a nice staircase to the pond, or we can scoot down the adjoining hill on our butts squealing “WHEEEE!” like the Geico Pig. Naturally, Colin chose option number 2. But then he tried to catapult himself into the pond. Because? I don’t know. Maybe he thought it was bath time. We restrain him. Oh God. Holy Terror. I now understand fully why parents put their children on leashes. Kase and I are seriously considering buying one. That walk to the car was the worst four minutes of my weekend. Hand him Janki Paci. Receive a Janki Paci to the face. Repeat. The whole way home.
Naturally, he was in a great mood to take a nap. Without a pacifier. NOT. The foaming at the mouth tipped me off. So we let him run around grammie’s house, where he dropped a can of soup on his foot and split open his toe. OF COURSE.
At this point, we gave up on the Janki Paci. He calmed down, which isn’t strange when he self inflicts pain. We decided to put him back down for a nap, sans paci. Off he went. Last night, we put him to bed, no paci. Gave him the paci at 1am when he woke, he gave me a major side eye and threw it from the crib. I rocked him to sleep. Down he went. Slept till 8am, too.
I am hesitant to say we are paci free, but I think we are well on our way. And it took us two steps out of the four. Paci Sabotage may just work. Now, maybe we can try to wean him off of tantrums. Any ideas? Bueller? Bueller?
PS: If you are interested in the Bye-Bye-Binky.Com PDF, follow this link.
Kids, it’s time. Time to sabotage the paci.
My kid’s getting a full set of baby teefs. And with me as his mother, what with my dental history, he’s already gonna have a tough road to hoe. Let’s not start too early. The baby teefs are so innocent. What did they ever do to get all messed up?
Why now? Because it’s completely acceptable for me to pass out drunk tomorrow night and have Colin’s cries fall on deaf ears. Because I’m Irish.
I chose now because I’ve noticed lately that Colin feels entitled to the paci. And I ain’t raising no entitled brat. Colin hides these things around the house like Kim Richards hides bottles of liquor and prescription pills. Allegedly. Even when I confiscate the pacifier after his nap, somehow when we get downstairs, he’s got another one plugged in. They’re coming out of the woodwork, people! If he could just learn to find my keys every now and then. Help a mother out, kid. Jesus.
So last night, I got to crawl around our apparently dirty house and find the rogue pacifiers: I found fallen soldiers under cribs and play tables and hidden in corners and underneath dirty clothes in the laundry basket for crissake. Some were covered in lint and dog hair. Which you think would encourage him to give them up, but no. He’s out of control. A Paci Monster. So sabotage it is.
I read about bye-bye-binky.com, a website devoted to teaching idiot parents like myself how to wean their demon child off pacifiers. You see, parents depend on pacifiers to soothe their children. When, you ask? When changing diapers, putting on shoes, putting on jackets; when taking naps, when taking the stroller and not the wagon, when going to Gymboree, when leaving Gymboree; when closing the garage door; after turning off the television before Super Why has uncovered the secret message. Just then.
I started the first stage of sabotage last night. Following the instructions of the website, I took a pin and poked little holes in the tip of the pacifier.“The idea here is for the binky to lose its ‘squeegy’ feeling in the mouth. The holes let air pass back and forth and, although it is still a full pacifier, it is not quite as enjoyable. “
Checking my handiwork, I made sure to suck on the pacifiers myself. Yup. Like a crazy person.
As a next step I am supposed to start snipping the tops off. And when my child undoubtedly gives me the ol’ sideye and chucks his janky paci at my face, I am supposed to play dumb. “Here, try another [sabotaged] paci, honey!” I’ll let you know how that goes. Generally, Colin doesn’t take kindly to my dumb girl act. I try it often, like when he hands me the remote control and points to the TV. It usually ends in tears.
The point is to gradually remove the “pleasure aspect” of the pacifiers so that the child gives it up on his own. Apparently Colin is addicted to his “pleasure source.” I never knew paci sabotage to sound so sordid and dirty. Yikes.
So, have any of you poked holes in items belonging to the men in your life lately to get what you want? What? What’s so funny? Oh GROSS.
So here’s the deal. My husband has challenged me to cut back on our grocery budget. He actually asked how I used to save money while I worked my very first job in NYC. Here’s how that conversation went:
Kase: When you worked at the Council, how did you budget for groceries?
Kate: (looking confused) I didn’t eat.
Kase: Be serious.
Kate: I am! I weighed 105 pounds (ed note: Those were the days!) I made $1,800 a month and my rent was half that. In order to enter my room, I already had to walk sideways since the door couldn’t open all the way without hitting my bed. I literally couldn’t afford to eat. Groceries were expensive. Sushi was actually cheaper, though I couldn’t afford that either. What I would do was, I would steal leftovers at lunch and then eat cereal for dinner. On the weekends, I either worked events where the caterers would feed me or I accepted dinner dates with Turkish oil heirs. When my parents were in the city for an opera, I would invite myself to have dinner with them before hand. I mean, because I love them. And enjoy their company. That’s how I budgeted for groceries. In a roundabout way.
Turns out, this conversation was not helpful in sorting out ways to cut our grocery budget. Not only because my parents don’t live nearby, but also because they don’t attend the opera in Boston. Also, due to the fact that I am married, I can no longer accept dates with other men. And also, because I am, apparently, an adult, with a family, I need to somehow sort out how to control my grocery budget and yet still feed them. Vultures.
Kase thinks such a challenge appeals to my competitive nature. He is wrong. I just want to eat what I want to eat when I want to eat it. You will most likely see me on the Biggest Loser in the next 10 years. I have willpower issues.
I turned to my blogger buddies and notice they keep menu plans. I suppose this helps them plan their grocery budget as well. How novel. I pretty much hit up the store daily, depending on what my tummy feels like consuming that day. I almost always leave with something from the ice cream aisle. Apparently, this leads to sloppy budgets. And guts.
How do you save when it comes to your food budget? Do you eat cereal for dinner? Accept dates at Olive Garden, where you shove breadsticks into your purse for later? Not saying I did that…..Just that I did that. Olive Garden is the bomb.
My girlfriend Amanda shared the news recently that she is expecting. A child. Just in case that wasn’t clear. This is super news. Though it makes me laugh to think of how far we’ve come in the last 7 years. Literally. We met while working in NYC as event planners. I’ve since moved up and down the Eastern Seaboard and Amanda has travelled the world over, many times over.
Amanda was my first friend when I moved into the city. We were co-workers, but working in a 6×6 closet that someone deemed large enough to act as an office, at the same desk with 12 inches to part you will make fast friends. Or horrible enemies. We chose friendship. We had enough problems. One of which was our boss. But those are stories for another day.
Which is all to say, Amanda’s got dirt on me. Lots of it. So I need to tread lightly. Kidding. But I do love her, and I’m excited for her. Because as much as I bemoan having a holy terror as a child, having a little boy is lots of fun. And Amanda is joining the club.
I sent her the following list. I know lots of bloggers do the whole “The Stuff You Need to Buy to Raise a Human.” Well, here’s mine:
(anything highlighted is hyperlinked to a specific item)
So you’re having a baby. Good luck. Now go buy this.
Make sure to have both long and short sleeve up until 12 months. Also, for NB-3 months, make sure to have the kind with fold-over sleeves. Babies cut themselves up like Bloods going after Crips.
Zip up Onesies for sleeping.
You don’t want to be snapping up a million snaps in the middle of the night. Times 8. Sorry, but it’s happening. Deal with it. Move on.
For the first couple of weeks, baby will be soaking up the spotlight. But baby needs to keep his belly button out of the spotlight. This means keep that sucker away from snaps, zippers, what have you. Cuz it’s gonna fall off. But until it does, keep it cozy. Don’t traumatize the belly button.
Grab your husband. Grab a handy man. Just make someone install a dimmer switch in the nursery.
We cheaped out because we didn’t think it was necessary. And for the first 6 months, it’s not. In my opinion. But when they start to throw things out of the crib and pull themselves up and you are thinking about when is it okay to start crying it out? You’ll wish you knew if they were in real distress or just threw their soothe and glow seahorse overboard. And to be able to avoid entering the nursery with that knowledge is priceless.
You will think you want those cute Aden and Anais blankets. You don’t. Well, you can buy them if you want something light to drape over your carseat and shield the baby from Paparazzi. But to actually swaddle the baby? This is it. Get a couple. Seriously, I think we stopped swaddling at like 5 or 6 months. Babies wake themselves up without it. You don’t want that once they start sleeping through the night. Ish.
Here’s the deal. All the baby books tell you, “Keep the baby’s room around 68 degrees!” And you think to yourself, “My sweet defenseless baby will be freezing!” Mostly because all the family visiting you will be walking around in their winter parkas and lamenting on why you keep the house so darn cold. And you will challenge them and say things like “Do you want the baby to DIE?!”. And then they will walk on eggshells around you, stage whispering about “hormones” and “post partum depression” until they leave. And then you’ll be sad because visitors help a lot with babies. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Keeping the house at a nice 68 degrees. And cold babies. And he may be. That could be true. But at first, he’ll be swaddled and in a onesie. He’ll be fine. And then he’ll grow out of being swaddled. And you will freak out. You will actually consult your pediatrician about how to wean your child from swaddling since you are afraid he will never sleep again without being swaddled and what with it being an ice palace in your house, your baby needs a blanket. But blankets are forbidden. So you go and buy this. And you wish you had registered for it, because at this point in the game you find yourself saying things like, “it’s just another drop in the bucket” and ”put it on my tab.” So even though you may not use this at first, register for it. Because 6 months in? Ain’t nobody buying baby pressies. And that’s sad. For your wallet.
This is where your baby will live for the first five months of life. He will sleep here. He will nap here. He will watch you as you try and cook dinner for the first time again here. Don’t learn the hard way and purchase it one month into parenthood, after trying sleep incliners and padding the mattress and finally after reading on TheBump.com about this mysterious “FP RnP.” You can go with the basic model, though I see they now offer a plush version. Either way, babies don’t care. You might though, when you realize all your pics of your baby have an ugly yellow polka dot background. See also: all of Colin’s pictures from October 2010 through April 2011.
“I am the ugliest product known to man. And I will lull your fussy baby to sleep every night, SO DON’T QUESTION ME LADY. Now, toss the sleep sheep.”
Extra fitted crib sheets.
Have about three for whatever crib you get. Pair them with mattress protectors.
At one year, we phased out the Soothe and Glow Seahorse and phased in this guy. He loves to turn it on before he hops into bed which for the cuteness factor alone makes it worth it.
Use the old cloth diapers for burp cloths. They are super absorbent and you can use them later on for cleaning rags. They do an excellent job on windows.
Not much to say on that one. Oh, it stands up on its own. Super.
I prefer Green to Grow. They are all the BPA free crap, but more importantly, they hold up really well. Can’t say the same for Medela and some other brands. Also stay away from Nuk. Those suck balls. But keep in mind you may have to shop around for bottles that work for your baby. All nipples are different, some are faster flow than others, and that may or may not work for your kid.
It doesn’t scream, “LOOK! I have a baby!” Though all the breast pump parts and nipples might. Plus, the baby is probably screaming, “Look! You have a baby!” Re: the drying rack, you can just shove whatever, wherever. The only downside is the size. I found it a little small. You may want two.
Didn’t even know we needed this. We were gifted it. And then we bought another one. You need this. Two of em.
Small footprint. You will likely buy a booster later on as well when your child sits at the table with you, so keep costs down where you can. This is easy to clean, easy to dissemble. You can pack it in the car if need be.
We also have an Inglessina Fast Chair, but be careful of these- you can’t attach them to islands or drop leaf tables, and they are difficult to attach to tables with lips. The beauty of the booster, it works on any chair really. And when you want your child to start eating at the table, you can’t beat the price. I know some people who use this from the get go. Since we didn’t have a dining table in our Boston apartment, we chose to go the high chair route. The high chair now resides in the cottage in Maine for when grandkids visit.
This is similar to what they will give you in the hospital or so I’ve noticed with all my friends anyway. Colin never looked back. And all those cute pacis we bought before hand? In the trash. If we had disposable income, I would invest in stock in these. If you have disposable income now, you should do the same. You won’t after the baby comes. You’ll thank me later.
You know the feeling in the pit of your stomach when something bad has happened? That is the feeling you will get every time you can’t find a pacifier anywhere in the house. Or you’ve clearly lost it somewhere in the mall. You’re going to lose a lot of pacifiers. This helps you lose less. But you’ll still lose a lot.
We use this one on Colin. Never had a fever before the first year, though. But the pediatrician office approves of digital. However, they do warn there could be a degree of difference.
For Boys (ie. for Penises)
Vaseline and Gauze (2×2 pads) for circumcision wound.
We received this as a bow on a present. Great idea. But also, the first toy that Colin could actually hold. This was a big deal. And also about three months down the line. Don’t forget your baby will grow beyond three months. I did.
5 months in, the baby will finally appreciate this. His drool will tip you off.
I am not sure what hypnotic witchery they have going on there at Baby Einstein, but we never left home without this. Cue the zombie eyes.
Think beyond that squirmy-does-nothing-all-day-but-sleep-eat-and-poop-baby. One day, your baby will be upright on his own. And he’ll need something to do. Be a pal. Give him something to do.
Your child will spend lots of time on this thing. Find one you like and can stand to look at 18 hours a day. Oh, and it should be fun for him, too.
When your kid starts pushing himself up, you may want one, especially if you have hardwoods. This can be made as small or as large as you’d like. Rugs work too, though. Don’t get me wrong.
Bath and Cleaning.
In my humble opinion, which I finally molded after not one, not two, but three infant bath seats, this is all you need. Yup, it’s five dollars at Target. Get one. Use it. When you’re done, squeeze it out like a sponge. When it gets ratty, throw it out. Buy another. Trust me. Your baby does not need an “infant spa”. Nor do you want to trip over it every morning on your way to the shower. You get five minutes to shower. Don’t use two of them kicking a baby bathtub around and yelling at it. Also, babies don’t fit into every bathroom sink, regardless of what PUJ tub wants you to think.
As an aside, you also don’t really need a knee pad to bathe your child. Grab a towel. You’ll have enough junk in your bathroom following giving birth. Trust me. Hello ice packs.
I use them myself now cuz they smell oh so good. And apparently Johnson’s has some carcinogen. I don’t know. This smells better anyway.
You can shove the foam insert in here. Then when the baby gets some bath toys, you can shove them in here, too. Stays up great with suction. No adhesive strips, which means good for bathroom resale.
Sensitive skin wipes.
Whichever brand you choose.
Target brand diapers are great so unless you spot a problem, I say go with those. Don’t use Luvs. Just. Don’t. Or do. But invest in Clorox.
Yup, that’s what it’s called. And it’s called that because they have nothing to prove. No need to get all fancy. Best butt paste for rashes.
I know you won’t listen, because, well, I didn’t. Hello Bugaboo! But trust you me. For the first couple of months, you can get by with a Snap and Go. You’ll be grateful your first solo trip the doctor. Do this. Also, it affords you time to sort out what kind of stroller you really need. A placeholder, if you will. If you decide down the line, you really need a jogging stroller, then great. Go for it. Keep in mind, you also need an umbrella stroller, especially if you travel. You don’t want to be hitting up Babies R Us the night before Thanksgiving because you realize you are flying and can’t possibly bring your full size stroller with you. And they won’t let you through security with your Ergo strapped on. Which results in a panic attack because “WE ARE BROKE!!” That may or may not have happened to me. Maybe.
Your stroller will become your new mobile car trunk. You are now a sherpa. Invest.
My recommendation here would be to go with the lightest car seat you can find. Not the car seat that can hold a 35 pounder. You will not be carrying a 35 pound baby in a car seat. Colin is still not 35 pounds. I would never carry him in a carseat now. We went with the Maxi Cosi. Nice and light. Even 15 pound babies feel heavy in a carseat.
People are generally in two camps: The Baby Bjorn or the Ergo. I firmly planted my feet in both. Here’s why: we used the Bjorn when Colin was little little little. We felt like he was too tiny to go in the Ergo even with the infant insert. We used the Ergo when he got bigger because it was better on our backs. Either way you go, you have a baby strapped to you and you’re gonna sweat like a mofo.
Okey dokey. Things are about to get real. Real Uncomfortable. Sorry. But it’s true.
Get yourself some yoga pants. And some granny undies. And some really cute pj sets. Some tank tops and zip up hoodies. Cuz that’s your new uniform, mommy! Make sure to have hubby on hand to go out and buy nursing bras once your milk comes in (GAG!). And splurge on those. It makes a difference. Even though you can’t believe you are spending $60 on a flasher bra. Do it.
Can’t say I recommend the Belly Bandit. I still have a pooch. But maybe it helped. Who knows.
If you go natural, you’ll want these on hand as well. I’m sorry. I hate to be the one to break the news.
- Colace (just trust me on this one
- Tucks medicated wipes.
- Spray bottle (they will give you this in the hospital)
- Ice packs (they will send you home with these from the hospital)
- Always Ultra Thin Pads
So, did I cover it? Anyone else got any advice for Amanda? I wish someone had told me that babies grow up to be 6 months old. That would have been helpful. For my bank account.
Yesterday it hit 70 degrees here in Massachusetts. And it was amazing. I felt like I got a new lease on life, between extra daylight and warm temperatures. And to me, warm temperatures signal Salad weather. Generally the weather needs to be 70 or above for me to indulge in a salad. Not mostly because if I have a choice between pasta and salad, I choose pasta. Pasta is good. But so is this salad. Because it really isn’t all that healthy, when it comes down to it. But sometimes 70 degree weather comes your way, and you can only think, “I could eat a salad.”
I found a distant relative of this salad on Pinterest. Obviously. But being that it involved apples, I had to take a pass. I don’t like no fruit in my salad. Unless it’s craisins. So I created my own. Of course, it doesn’t really matter what you use to junk it up, the important part is the creamy dressing. This salad introduced to me to the novel concept of using two delicious dressings to make one ultra delicious dressing. Colin really loves the dressing, too. I know this because he insisted on “eating” salad, by which I mean he sucked the dressing off the cucumbers and loudly proclaimed “Yum!” Kinda the way I eat salad, too, now that I think of it.
So if you like your salads to act as vehicles to deliver dressing and tortilla strips or croutons, then join the club. And make this salad.
The Best Salad. Ever.
Romaine Lettuce, chopped
Diced grilled chicken
Yellow Bell Pepper, diced
Grape Tomatoes, halved
Handful of Craisins
Handful of Tortilla Strips or Croutons
Sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese
Dressing: 3 parts Poppyseed dressing to 1 part Balsamic Vinaigrette
Combine ingredients and dress. “YUM!”
Remember the days when you were a kid, and the whole “spring forward” bit at Daylight Savings was kind of great? It meant you could stay out later playing tag and eat dinner while the sun was still out? And then, as you got older, and had a job to go to on Monday morning, the thought of Daylight Savings lost its luster. It was so hard to lose that one hour of sleep. You worked hard for your weekend, and dammit, you were not going to give up even one measly minute of it because some stupid lazy farmers need to harvest crops and can’t get it all done without more sun. Or something.
But then? You become a parent. Before becoming a parent, you may or may not be aware of the actual date for Daylight Savings. In fact, up until having Colin, Kase and I actually missed church one week simply due to the fact that we had no idea that our clocks had moved forward while we slumbered. We strolled right in thinking for once we were early, only to have heads shaken at us with tight little smiles. “Sorry. Daylight Savings!” So we went to brunch. Good news? We beat the crowd.
Winter is soul killing. Especially in the northeast. It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s basically what I imagine the middle ages to have been like. Minus all the torture and monks chanting and writing Bibles.
But like I said. Then you become a parent. A parent doesn’t need reminders, though thank you Sprout Channel for ramming it down my throat. For months, we parents shudder at the thought of winter, dying a little death every time we attempt to put our child into a winter coat only to be met with wails and screams. We endure world class temper tantrums after closing the patio door to let the dog out, our child throwing himself against the plate glass crying, “OUT!”. For parents, the promise of rising temperatures and playing outdoors sans torture device is reminder in itself. We count the days until Daylight Savings.
Until then, our days end promptly at 4pm when it becomes too dark to play outside and most indoor play gyms shut down. We are left in a winter abyss. We call those three ungodly hours leading to 7pm “Badtime” in our house. It’s kinda like “bedtime.” But horrible. We watch a lot of TV during Badtime.
And then there is the daylight savings brass ring every parent strives to grab: a child waking up one hour later, their little internal clocks not understanding they have been duped. That thought alone enticed me weeks ago to circle the date on my calendar. Well, if I had a calendar, anyway.
As I bathed Colin the night before, it was if Santa was coming to our house that night: ‘Twas the night before Daylight Savings, and all through the house….”
“Colin! Tonight is daylight savings! In the middle of the night, the clocks go forward! Which means that your internal clock is being secretly reset. AND ITS GOING TO BE FANTASTIC!!”
On Daylight Savings Eve, parents the world around can hardly fall asleep for all their excitement. And when they wake, they are surprised to find their present- a clock reading 8:00am, a restful night’s sleep under their belt and a happy child in the crib. We say a little prayer to sweet baby Jesus for finally bringing more daylight, warmer temperatures and puffer vests, one hour more of sleep and resetting our robot baby’s clocks.
Just to reiterate, I didn’t write the below article. But I sure wish I did.
Stay at Home Moms vs. Working Moms: Worst Cage Match Ever
Last week a study came out which showed that working moms have sicker kids than stay-at-home moms. Almost immediately, the stay-at-home moms turned the study into a 500-page scrapbook project which they used to pummel working moms with. Then working moms retaliated by sending their secretaries out to staple all of the stay-at-home moms’ nostrils shut. Or at least, I suspect that’s the kind of “mommy-war” bullshit that the media probably expected would happen.
In real life, however, almost everyone ignored the study because both the stay-at-home moms and the working moms were too damn busy to waste their time criticizing the personal decisions of fellow mothers. In fact, pretty much the only people who paid attention to this at all were the mothers-who-are-way-too-concerned-about-what-everyone-else-is-doing-because-it-distracts-them-from-all-the-shit-they’re-personally-failing-at.
Still, there are some new mothers who have fallen for the ridiculous idea that mothers are at war with each other, and who feel conflicted about making the decision to go back to work or to stay at home after having children, so I’m going to give you the lowdown of both options so you can decide for yourself.
The PROS of being a stay-at-home mom: You don’t have to shower until noon. If your child is under 6 months old, you can watch zombie movies and The Big Lebowski all day and they totally won’t care. Pajamas are your new uniform. You’re always home to sign for packages. You get to see all the cool things your kid does all day. Your kid isn’t exposed to the petri-dish of germs that is daycare. You feel like Donna Reed. You don’t have to deal with that bitch at work anymore. Your partner thinks you’re amazing. You have the quiet satisfaction of doing what’s right for your children.
The CONS of being a stay-at-home mom: You don’t have time to shower ever. If your child is over 6 months old, you have to watch really shitty kids TV all the time and you have weird sex dreams about Thomas the Train. All of your pajamas have bodily fluids on them. And not the good kind. You accidentally show your boobs to the mailman/cable guy/next door neighbor. You realize that your kid is boring and/or an asshole and you can never escape from them. You want to knife Donna Reed for making it look so easy. You irrationally shout, “STAY-AT-HOME MOMS ARE WORKING MOMS” every time you read an article like this and then you shake your head and wonder how you got like this. You feel so lonely that you actually start to miss that bitch at work. Your partner wants to rest after a long day of work and they don’t understand that you need to rest too and they say something like, “Why? What did you do all day? This house is a wreck” and then you have to go to jail for stabbing them in the shoulder. You find that prison is a pleasant break from being a stay-at-home mom. You secretly worry that you’re making the wrong decision.
The PROS of being a working mom: You get to escape from the insanity of motherhood for eight hours a day. You have more disposable income that you can spend on family vacations and classes. You can afford to put your child in a Portuguese-immersion daycare that will give him a huge advantage in school. You have an experienced nanny/child-care provider to give you advice and help raise your child. You can belt out that “I can bring home the bacon” song and totally mean it. You are able to keep up an active social life, which makes you a happier, more focused mom when you’re home. You have the quiet satisfaction of having both a successful career and family.
The CONS of being a working mom: You miss eight hours a day of your child’s life. You spend your entire paycheck on concerts to see The Wiggles. Your child is fluent in a language you can’t even speak. You have a nanny/childcare provider who is constantly telling you how to raise your child and occasionally your child calls her “mommy.” When “Cat’s in the Cradle” comes on the radio, you fall to pieces and everyone in your office hears you crying the ugly cry. Your kid is sick every other week from all the germs at daycare and your boss makes you feel like shit for missing work to take care of her. You end up using all your vacation days getting thrown up on in the pediatrician’s office. Everyone in your house gets lice. Twice. You’re so exhausted that you can’t accomplish anything and you feel like you’re failing as a parent and as an employee. You secretly worry that you’re making the wrong decision.
In the end, only one universal truth remains: You’re going to doubt yourself no matter what you do, but whatever decision you make is probably the best one for your particular family. Also, eventuallyeveryone gets lice. That’s another universal truth but not necessarily one anyone ever talks about.
PS: If you’re a working mom still pissed off about the sick-kid study, then you need to take a deep breath and calm the hell down. Yes, the study implies that children of working moms are four times more likely to be poisoned but that doesn’t mean you’re the one poisoning them. Honestly, who has the time? I barely have time to cook dinner at night, much less plan a poisoning. My guess is that your children are being poisoned by stay-at-home moms who are retaliating after having discovered that you are secretly encouraging your sick children to lick all the playground equipment just to level the sick-kid playing field. Honestly, I can’t say I blame them.
PPS: Dear media: The paragraph right above this one? That’s how you start a mommy-war. Fucking amateurs.
So, I’ve noticed a trend. I tend to treat Fridays around here as retail therapy day. Anyone else do that? Sometimes, a girl just needs to feel rewarded for her hard work. I figure my retail therapy is a lot cheaper than seeing an actual therapist. Maybe. Perhaps not, but it sure makes me feel great, so let’s not fix what’s not broken.
A couple of weeks ago when we were preparing for our trip to NJ, I realized I needed a “Shit, I need to wear actual clothes that don’t involve jeans or yoga pants” outfit. What? Don’t front. Everyone has that realization, right? We were planning on walking around the city a bit and grabbing a bite to eat before seeing Anything Goes, so I needed to be comfy, warm and sorta kinda stylish. As far as I can be, anyway.
In the back of my head I was scolding myself for seemingly always needing a new outfit for every non-Colin related activity. How can I have so many clothes and never have anything to wear? These were questions to ponder another day though. I had to get on the road. So I decided I would keep my expedition on the cheap side. If I didn’t find something I absolutely loved, I wouldn’t purchase anything at all. Sideye: Loft.
I found myself at Nordstrom Rack, Nordstrom’s red-headed step sister. Basically the TJ Maxx of Nordstrom. But better. Sometimes. You know how the whole discount retailer thing goes.
I found a sweater dress right away in the clearance section. For my ego’s sake, I’m going to assume it was originally in the Junior’s section since I had to go for the Large size. Yikes. Anyway, the price couldn’t be beat: $14. It’s a classic camel colored turtleneck sweater dress. Done and done.
As I explained to Colin that this dress might call for a belt (he agreed), we headed over to the accessories section, where my little partner in crime swiped a pair of sunglasses off a display table. I chided him, “No Colin, mommy doesn’t need….oh wait. Those are Coach. Let me try those on.” Score. And then no joke, he picked up a stack of gold rings. Since they were keeping him happy, I obviously had to get those too. Can’t be causing a scene at the Rack.
Now you may remember my expensive hobo cross body bag lust? This $400 beauty. Well, let me tell you. My search for a cute belt might have been in vain, but there she was. Just waiting for me. A Kate Spade “convertible hobo”. That is a stupid way of them saying you can wear this over the shoulder or across your body because there are two straps, one long, one short. It was nylon, which is a mom’s best friend. And it was deeply discounted. And obviously way cheaper than that *other* bag. So with the argument already brewing in my head about “ALL THE MONEY I SAVED!!!” I plopped that sucker in my cart as well.
And I didn’t even notice the cute polka dot interior until I got home. Totally worth it.
So what started as a coup in scoring a $14 sweater dress, turned into a $200 shopping spree. Woopsie daisy. But that happens all the time at Target and I couldn’t tell you what half of that crap is. Whereas here, I absolutely love everything I got, and …..well that’s about it. You’re not Kase. I don’t need to prove anything.
Ironically, when I put together my outfit for Anything Goes, I noticed I was also wearing my Cole Haan boots I scored from the Rack last winter. You see? I’m such a fiscally responsible shopper. And I still kind of love designer labels. Cuz I’m stupid like that.
And in case you were looking, here’s a similar look, complete with a $14 dress.
It’s like Oprah’s Book Club. But better. Because these books have pictures.
A few months back, I talked about my son’s addiction to the book “Little Blue Truck.” At least I assume it was an addiction. I base this on the fact he would get the shakes and would be very agitated when we hadn’t read it in at least 6 hours.
It was time to search for some new reading material. When simple phrases like “they clapped their hands” are automatically finished with “AND YELLED HOORAY! FOR THE LITTLE BLUE TRUCK WHO LED THE WAYYYYYY!” it’s time to move on. You have a problem. The first step is acknowledging it.
You do so by logging onto your Amazon Prime account and ordering books to arrive the next day. Because who has time to go to the bookstore? And by that, I mean, who has time to fight with their toddler over the Thomas the Tank Engine play set at the bookstore while trying to drag him away and simultaneously drop the $25 wooden block also known as a train toy. Not this momma. I’ve got better things to do, thanks. And much better things to spend $25 on. Like braided belts.
But back to the book club. The following get the Colin’s Book Club Seal of Approval. Which, in case you are wondering, resembles a slobbery hand print with a little bit of Kix residue.
If you’ve got a little kiddo of the male variety, then these books might be up your alley:
Llama Llama Wakey Wake. This is another of the Llama Llama series. We have the original Llama Llama Red Pajama, as well as the holiday version, Llama Llama Holiday Drama. This one’s a short little board book. $6 well spent.
Leonardo the Terrible Monster. This is a cute book about a terrible monster. No, seriously. He is terrible at being a monster. It’s cute. And more importantly, it’s short and to the point. It only looks long and hellish. It’s mostly just fun pictures. It’s by Mo Willems, who also writes the “Don’t let the Pidgeon” books.
Cars Galore. I bought this for Colin as a Christmas Present. This books is awesome for kids who like cars. Truth in advertising, I guess. The rhymes are great, the pictures are cute. There is a lot of room for creative voices and sound effects. Parents know this is important.
Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime. This is a new addition to our household. We bought it over the weekend when we were in NJ. It’s silly, but I read it to Colin while he’s in the tub, and it’s pretty fun. He makes noises and happily brushes his teeth just like the dinosaur. Whatever works around here. And much like the Llama series, there seems to be a Dinosaur series that tackles the potty, the library and other assorted toddler predicaments.
So there ya have it. The Ulysses and Grapes of Wrath of the toddler literary canon, in my humble opinion. And I should know. I was an English Major.
Alternate post title: Kase, it’s happening. Get over it.
A couple of years ago, Kase and I were walking in Georgetown on our way to brunch. We were window shopping and happened upon Vineyard Vines. Now it being wintertime, I think the temperature was around 40 degrees. Decidedly *not* flip flop weather. But as we passed by, we were greeted by a young man in what can only be described as pink pants, a polo with a popped collar and leather flip flops. And boy was he happy. As he yelled good morning at us, I couldn’t help but gawk. I was all wrapped up in down everything with Uggs to match, and this college kid is strutting around with no socks and short sleeves. YOUTHS. I looked over at Kase and he looked…..disgusted. This is an odd look to encounter on Kase. He is usually very happy. Muppety. Before I could even ask, he said “Those pants are stupid. I hate that store.”
Now this is problematic. Because I happen to love a nice prepster. Kase had me fooled when we met. I mean, he owned a braided belt. DON’T DENY IT, KASE. He also owned a jean jacket, but we don’t discuss that anymore. The jury ruled.
But back to the pink pants. Just for the record: they aren’t pink. They are “Nantucket Reds.” And they are awesome. And quite obviously, I need my son to have a pair. NOW. And not just the pants. The whole kit and caboodle. I want people to ask me what prep pre-school he goes to. I’ll respond he’s a Gymbo man. And then he’ll do the secret handshake. Which involves flapping his arms around and screaming. Kinda like they do at Yale. Or so I imagine.
But seriously, Kase. It’s happening. Deal with it.
This outfit just calls for a special outing to the island of Nantucket, don’t you think? I mean, there’s even a change of shoes. You know. Just in case Colin is invited to go clamming. Or to a yacht party. Whatever.
And besides, you can’t call a little kid a douchebag. It just isn’t done.