Friday, June 28, 2013

Mom: Diaper Bag Essentials

As your baby grows and changes, so do the diaper bag essentials.  When Susan was an infant, her diaper bag was well stocked with spare formula, pacifiers, diapers, two or three spare outfits and maybe a rattle or other toy.  Now, it is stocked with entirely new and different stuff.

Here is our diaper bag.  We love it.  It holds everything we need, it has a handy pad for use at various changing stations, it hooks onto our stroller and it holds a LOT!

We never leave home without it!

Here is a run down of everything that the diaper bag is always stocked with:

1. Two pacifiers (Rarely used but you never want to leave home without!)

2.  Wipes of all varieties.  Wet Ones, Stuffy Nose Wipes, Regular Diaper Wipes

I mean, all the assorted wipes probably aren't necessary but make me feel good to have!

3.  First-Aid Kit to-go.  Now that Susan RUNS everywhere she goes, this is important.  We haven't had to use any of the wonderful things in it, but I know its just a matter of time.  It is small, compact and fits perfectly in our bag.  I found it at Wal-Mart.

4.  Various creams.  We slather Susan with diaper cream/butt paste with every diaper change.  She had one diaper rash when she was still an infant (right around the time of her first tooth).  We used a lot of Lotramin for that one (and you thought it was just for Athlete's Foot).  But now we use Parents Choice Diaper Cream (same as Desitin) or Boudreaux's Butt Paste.  The Butt Paste is our favorite but it is more expensive.   We also keep an extra A&D ointment for her cheeks, etc.  She gets big time drool rash when she is teething (her cheeks get super red, and sometimes a few blisters).  The A&D Ointment is awesome because it has both petroleum jelly and lanolin, so it is almost instantaneous relief.  We discovered it when all of her runny noses during the winter were making her mouth area so raw.  I highly recommend having one for the diaper changing area in your house and your diaper bag.

Diaper Cream and A&D Ointment
4.  Travel Messy Mat - see pink and green pouch above.  I found this one through a friend.  She sells them on Etsy.  We also have a Summer Green Place-Mat (I know a lot of you use those too) that we use at home.  And that one rolls up for fit in your diaper bag but we like this one for ours simply because it's small and compact.  The little pouch is great and then the mat unfolds with six suction cups.  

5.  Toys!  We always have Sophie, a set of keys and at least two books in the bag.  For long trips, the airport, etc., we add in a few extras.  But having these in the bag is great for trips to the grocery store or to Daddy's office.  You just never know when they might come in handy.

Sophie really is a staple for most babies, I believe.
 6.  Spare hair brush and nail clippers.  We just recently made this a Diaper Bag Staple.  This way we don't have to remember our set when we travel.  We travel pretty often with Susan (she has flown five different times since she was born) and these are good to always have.  We put them in a separate pouch so we don't have to worry about losing them.

Brush = necessity for curly mop on my daughter's head
7.  Diapers!  Obviously, you want to always have about four spare diapers in your diaper bag.  Because YOU NEVER know.  When we took Susan to the zoo a few weeks ago, she stayed very hydrated with water all day.  She was filling up her diapers fast and finally, over filled.  Which brings me to number 8....

8.  Weather appropriate spare outfit.  Because you never know when a blow out will strike.  

Those are pretty much our main staples for the diaper bag.  We add extras depending on where we are going.  For examples, on Sundays, we always go to lunch at Jason's Deli after church.  So we pack her bag with two sippy cups, one empty (to add milk at lunch) and one full of water (for her to enjoy at the nursery), a snack cup of Multi-grain O's, and her plate and utensil set.  

I am sure our staples and diaper bag essentials will change as she gets older.  I would actually love to hear what all of you have in your diaper bags.  New ideas are always welcome!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dad: Grand Declarations of a New Parent

I wish I would have written down all the grand declarations I made about parenting before my daughter was born. Looking back, my plan was to apparently raise some sort of freak baby who would never cry, scream or tantrum because of my superior parenting. Freak Baby would have absolutely zero interest in televisions, iPhones or anything breakable, and when it came time for her to date, she would only go out with father-approved men of upstanding character.

A couple hundred screaming fits and a broken iPhone screen later and I’ve changed my tune a bit. If I ever get my hands on one of those time machines of the DeLorean or hot tub variety, I’m traveling back in time to give that pre-parenting version of myself a stern, R. Lee Ermey-style talking to. 

That approach worked fine for Private Pyle, right?

When my wife was pregnant, I can remember seeing parents let their kids play with their cell phone, iPad or whatever electronic device they had on hand. I remember thinking something along the lines of, “Wow, what lazy parenting. I will NEVER subdue my child with electronics.” Fifteen months later, if you gave me access to a taser, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t at least think about using it.

It’s comical how ignorant I was. I was like that guy who sits in front of his TV every Sunday telling Cam Newton to “THROW THE BALL TO STEVE SMITH” but doesn’t see that Steve Smith is 60 yards downfield in triple coverage. He doesn’t see it because that part of the game isn’t on his tiny television screen, and before my daughter arrived, there was a whoooooole lotta stuff that wasn’t on my television screen.

In that guy's defense, triple coverage means nothing to Steve Smith.

She will not watch television until she’s two. That lasted until the first football Sunday in September. Then she was right there with me telling Cam Newton to throw the ball to Steve Smith.

I will never give her an iPad or phone to play with. But if she reaches up, snatches it from my grasp and yells “MINE!”, I technically didn’t “give” it to her..

Tantrums are caused by a simple lack of communication. Well I don’t speak “BAH WAH ABBA DABBA WABABABA EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” so if she feels like Wal-Mart is the appropriate place to melt down because she ran out of Cheerios, me saying “Hey Susan, it’s ok,” doesn’t help. But an iPhone might.

All children develop at different rates, so I won’t freak out if mine doesn’t hit a milestone right on time. I refer you to The Worry Reflex.

I will never tether my child with a leash. While we haven't done this yet, like with the taser I'd be lying if I said I haven't at least thought about it.

In our defense, my wife and I have stuck to our guns on a lot of other things, like making every bite of our daughter’s baby food ourselves. We also don't let her watch TV, other than the occasional football game or Yo Gabba Gabba episode (whichever I feel like watching that day). She still hasn’t had a single chicken nugget, and now that she can eat whatever we eat, we never make an entirely different meal just for her. But I’m seasoned enough now to know our good fortune with her eating habits may not last, so I won’t begrudge any parents who sit down at a Mexican restaurant and order their kid a plate of french fries.

So if you’re a parent and I ever judged you for strolling your 3-year-old around Wal-Mart with a pacifier, I apologize. Who knows what you were dealing with that day. If you're on the other side of the fence and still expecting, just know that your best-laid plans will be easily thwarted by that soon-to-be kicking, screaming and sometimes not-sleeping-when-she-is-clearly-supposed-to-be baby who you still haven't officially met. So hold off on armchair quarterbacking those who are doing it differently than you.

I'm not saying you shouldn't stick to the things you're committed to (I hope you will), but don't feel bad if you have to compromise something here and there. Most often, parenting is about coming up with solutions to unforeseen problems, not coming up with plans and hoping they go off without a hitch.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mom: Toddler Stats at 15 Months

Miss me?  Okay, I have no excuse.  The Great Fall was a while ago and while it worked for February and March, I don't really have an excuse now.  I still want to blog and share.  But Susan is so busy now!  Like super busy!  When she is awake, she is moving and grooving.  We are so exhausted.  So when we have an hour during nap time or two hours after she goes to bed, it's a toss up between emptying our super full DVR, reading a good book, cleaning up, laundry, or blogging.  But I have missed sharing all of our adventures so, I am going to try to do better.  I feel so bad that we didn't blog during the month of May.  Whoops.

I know I missed Toddler Stats at 13 and 14 months and I don't really remember enough of the differences (but believe me there are some) to add them back, so I will just pick up at 15 months.

Let me just say that it is true that nothing prepares you for a baby.  People who joke about how a dog is practice -- well, talk to me later when you realize you can't put the newborn in the crate so you can go on date night.  Nothing can prepare you and your spouse for an infant.  And then once you start feeling like a moderate success, some new milestone or development comes out of nowhere and everything changes again.

Well, NOTHING can prepare you for a toddler either!  One day, you have a sweet infant who just smiles and babbles, the next day, you have a walking toddler who is very comfortable with the word "No" and tantrums.  And very comfortable climbing on furniture.  Or running away from you. 

Nothing can prepare you for your toddler who can now do so much more!  She wants to learn all the time and says a new word almost every week!  She is so much fun and we are having a great time.  It has been a challenge and adjustment - she literally turned into a toddler overnight.  There was no gradual shift into toddlerhood or if there was, we missed it because we were so busy.  But she is a lot of fun and we wouldn't trade this for anything!

Weight:  29 pounds (100 percentile)

Height:  33 inches (100 percentile)

Next Appointment:  9/19 at 18 months

Teeth: 16.  I hardly even want to blog about teeth anymore.  It is just the worst thing ever and the two top canines - well - let's just say I wanted to be committed.  NOTHING made her feel better.  Advil was powerless.  Orajel?  Came off with all the HUGE amounts of drool.  The bottom eye teeth and even her first year molars didn't bother her as bad as those two teeth.  They are through, thank goodness, although, because they are narrow at the tip and get wider, she is still a little uncomfortable as they make their way down.  And with our luck, she will likely get her two-year molars at 18 months but oh well.  We only have four more teeth to go and honestly, let's just get-r-done so we can be done.  If she gets them all before 8/4/13, then she will have them all within a year, which probably is a record.  Now that she has so many teeth, our pediatrician recommended we take her to the pediatric dentist - an adventure that I am REALLY looking forward to.

New Foods:  She eats whatever we eat.  If we are having sandwiches for lunch, so does she (although sometimes we let her have grilled cheese if we are having something else).  She also eats whatever we eat for dinner.  For example, last night we had Buffalo Chicken Lasagna and so did Susan.  We usually have a side salad, but she has green beans and mixed fruit, etc.  I don't want to ever start making two meals.  It's tough enough cooking with a toddler to begin with.  I have used my crock pot A LOT in the last three months - it is a life-saver.  But she is a good eater.  And if during a given meal, she decides she isn't feeling the veggies, we don't make a big deal out of it.  Or if she doesn't eat much at all.  Toddlers are different when it comes to eating -- their growth has slowed WAY down.  But if you freak out over green beans or fruit, then that is likely to make it worse.  Because they LOVE our reactions.  So if she isn't hungry or seems more interested in throwing the bagel on the floor to Oscar, we just say "Oh, you must be full" and let her down.  No need to freak out.  She always rights it in the end.  And we try to always eat with her - rather than her eating by herself.  Some days it doesn't quite work out but we always sit at the table with her.  I think that is one of the reasons we have so much success at restaurants.  She is great at restaurants and I think that is because we did a lot of practicing at home.  (A Lot of these tips we got are from The Baby Whisperer for Toddlers.  If you haven't noticed, I advocate HEAVILY for The Baby Whisperer, and the sequel for Toddlers is just as good.  It's just harder to find time to read it when you are chasing around your toddler!)

Clothing Size:  18 months.  Some 24m or 2T stuff fits but is a little big.  And some 18M stuff is a little small.  I figure she will probably wear 2T in the Fall.  I am trying to guess because all those Smocked Clothing sites are starting to preview some adorable Halloween stuff and I want to get a jump on it, lol.

Sleeping:  She is sleeping anywhere from 10 to 11.5 hours.  It depends on how bad her mouth hurts.  In Tupelo last week, she kept waking up at 4:30 a.m. thanks to the Central Time switch and her mouth hurting.  But yesterday morning she slept til 6 a.m. and we almost cried with joy.  You will never appreciate 6 a.m. more until your 14.5 month old continuously wakes up at 5 a.m. for a few weeks.

Diaper Size:  Five

Favorite Toys:  Books are still her favorite toys by far.  She loves to pick them up and read them herself.  It is so adorable.  She also loves the corn popper pusher which she finally figured out how to work.  And she loves her baby dolls.  And purse.  And bracelets.  She loves to put on her bracelets and purse, and walk towards the garage door blowing kisses and saying Bye Bye.  We have this on video, somewhere.

Likes:  She likes to have her tummy and face tickle-scratched.  You know, where you give her a rub with your finger tips/nails.  She opens her mouth in awe of the sensations.  She likes her back just okay but I think it still tickles too much.  She also loves to DANCE.  The girl gets the rhythm all the time, or if she can't find the rhythm, she will just dance to the music in her heart.  It is adorable! 

Dislikes:  She dislikes being told No.  She dislikes when we don't do something quickly enough.  Her list of dislikes has grown ENORMOUSLY in the last few months when she became self-aware -- like Skynet, but with tantrums instead of nukes.  Once she realized she had choices, things changed.

Milestones:  Major milestones are basically just all the words she knows which are as follows:  Mama, Dada, book, tree, dog, bear, duck, baby, bye bye, Papa, Gigi, up, ball, night night, more, Molk (milk or other beverage), Oh Oh (Oscar), Uh OH (oops I threw something but I want it to appear as if it was accidental - it wasn't).

15 Months going on 15

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dad: The Baby Translator

After listening to my daughter belt out countless ba-ba-ba’s and ma-ma-ma’s for the first year of her life, the girl is finally capable of holding a conversation with her “da-da.”

Sort of. She knows a handful of words (more than 10 by our count), and we can talk at great length about “tree,” “baby” and “ball,” but then she’ll go off on some tangent about “doo-wee skroo-joe bip dwoo,” and look at me for a response. Most of the time, all I can say is an emphatic “YEAH!” which makes her smile and clap. For all I know, I’ve agreed to let her get Elmo’s face tattooed on her stomach when she turns 13.

She has also started answering the phone, which is sometimes her toy phone, sometimes our real phones and sometimes her hand, and carrying on a full conversation with who-knows-who. She’ll pull whatever object she has to her ear (or the back of her neck is more accurate) and say “HEY.” Then she’ll walk off talking about “posh peesh fisbo meesha,” which, I guess, is how I must sound to her (and my wife) when I talk to my dad about sports.

"Meesh-mosh weboo Justin Upton bam-bam."

Hearing your toddler talk in her own language is an incredible, amazing thing to watch as a parent, especially considering how I felt about her talking situation seven months ago. It’s also frustrating because one of her favorite words is “NO”, and she uses it frequently, complete with wild, violent head flailing and/or running away.

Susan, come here and let me wipe your nose. NO.

Let’s go change your diaper. NO.

Oh, are you bringing that random object to me so I can put it back where it belongs? NO.

Give me that random piece of whatever you just found on the ground and are about to put in your mouth. NO.

Give me whatever you just put in your mouth. NO.

Please? NO.

Ok fine, eat it and get sick. NO.

Stop saying no. NO.

I’m serious. (cries)

All NO’s aside, it’d be really helpful if the girl could tell us when something is wrong or when (and where) she’s in pain, but she’s not quite there yet. She can say “OW” but only does so in response to me when she bites my finger or slings a book into my forehead. And I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to teach your kid what “OW” means by example, so I’m going to let her daycare classmates take the lead on that one.

That said, my wife and I are now at that delicate stage of Toddlerdom where our daughter can verbally communicate some of her needs, but not all. It leads to frustration on everyone’s part when she tries to communicate something we don’t understand and she’s forced to revert to the universal language of suffering, which is screaming in public like a banshee (nice restaurant be damned). If only Google Translate could decipher baby-speak.

Current communication breakdown withstanding, I’m happy to be able to share in at least a handful of words with my daughter. I actually enjoy the jargon a little bit more because you can see in her face when she’s jibber-jabbing that she knows EXACTLY what she’s trying to say.  And it sure sounds a hell of a lot better than “You’re not the boss of me,” so Susan, you just keep meesh-mo and see-bowing away.