The _________ phase

It seems in a matter of months we have entered into a number of “normal toddler phases”. ¬†At least we hope they are simply phases…or else we’d better figure out a way to deal with them long term!

The……..Phase

…I’m going to scream at the top of my lungs for no reason…
…climbing onto everything…
…I will do everything in my power to avoid getting strapped in the car seat…
…I will not behave in a restaurant for more than 30 seconds…
…I want to do everything myself, so don’t even try to feed me without letting me hold the fork…
…crayons are not for drawing silly Mama, they are delicious…
…I suddenly hate getting my diaper changed…

Then there are the phases that we hope will never end…

…I give kisses on command…
…I understand what “night night” means and finally sleep through the night…
…I dance to music…
…Mama let me sit on your lap while you read to me…
…hugs and snuggles for no reason…
…playing peak-a-boo makes me smile…
…I can brush my own teeth…
…I don’t fight waking up in the morning…
…the littlest things are the most amazing…

Time flies these days…15 months already and not slowing down anytime soon ūüôā

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Pregnancy the second time around

To preface this post, I love being pregnant. ¬†There’s something so magical about the whole process. ¬†I missed being pregnant. ¬†Which is probably why we didn’t wait very long before we decided to try for baby #2… There are many many positive experiences that pregnancy brings. ¬†It is a feeling that many many women long for and only some are lucky enough to experience.

Now that I’ve cleared that up…

Some days, especially these days during the middle part of the first trimester, I wonder why I would want to do this to myself all over again. ¬†MORNING SICKNESS = the shittiest way to start off such an otherwise wonderful experience. ¬†How your body is supposed to think it’s a good thing that you feel like total crap is a mystery to me.

“You have that pregnant lady glow”

“You try throwing up all morning, you’d have that glow too”

– Friends

If you’ve had to experience morning sickness, you will wish that the first trimester moves at the speed of light…There’s nothing fun about the first trimester outside of learning you are pregnant and hearing the heartbeat for the very first time somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks…

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With J I don’t remember my MS being quite this bad…but then again I was getting a full night sleep, and had a few extra pounds on me too. ¬†These days I’m being sucked dry by a voracious 1-year-old and still being waked 1-2 times a night by said little monster. ¬†I guess that’s part of why people said I was crazy for wanting another baby when the first doesn’t sleep through the night yet…

With J I did have crazy awful heartburn…bad enough I had to be on Zantac for 75% of my pregnancy. And I remember having some nausea with J until my 14th week or so, but it was never bad enough to keep me from functioning. ¬†This time around I’ve had a few days where I’ve struggled to get out of bed. ¬†On a really bad day I’m lucky to be functional before 10am. ¬†And on those days I fight strong nausea all day long. ¬†Eating helps (assuming I have enough energy to get food down) and water helps too. ¬†I make sure to keep lots of snacks at the office so that I don’t get too hungry, and I suck on Jolly Ranchers like they are going out of style. ¬†I’m just at 9 weeks now, so I’m readying myself for another 4-6 weeks of MS hell…hoping that this is the trade-off for not having heartburn this time around. ¬†I think that’s a fair trade!

I am also going to continue to breastfeed J through this pregnancy. ¬†If he self-weans in the meantime then so be it, but otherwise I don’t have any real ready to wean him otherwise. ¬†My midwife is supportive of this, which is awesome, but she did warn me that I need to really watch my nutrition (since I should basically be eating healthy for 3) and that I will be extra tired. ¬†Oy, well nothing like preparing myself for 2 babies right from the beginning huh?!

We’ll go in at 12 weeks for our first ultrasound and will get to hear the heartbeat then too. ¬†Most docs will do an ultrasound at 8 weeks, but mine waits until 12 for the first one. ¬†And sometimes you are lucky enough to hear a heartbeat at 8 weeks, but my uterus tilts back towards my spine and would make it impossible to hear a heartbeat that early on. ¬†So 3 more weeks till we get to see/hear all that fun stuff.

Sticky Fingers

We have officially entered the age of the Sticky Finger Baby. ¬†Nothing is off limits, at least in his eyes, and everything is within reach…tabletops are no longer safe! ¬†Anything below counter height is fair game. ¬†J’s even learned how to climb or step onto other things in order to get those few extra inches he needs to reach whatever-it-may-be that is surely taunting him just out of reach.

He also loves paper. ¬†Like has a weird addiction to it…I may have to stage an intervention…Every time I turn around he’s found some kind of paper to chew on. ¬†Little stinker! ¬†Do babies have Pika? ¬†I’m not kidding you, he’ll rip off the corner of a cardboard box, tear through envelopes like they’re nothing, and bite off an entire corner of a 3 ring binder before you even know he has access to any of those things!

That begin said, an office is like a haven for this little paper eating monster…envelopes, paper, tissues, sticky notes galore. ¬†I do my best to keep them out of his reach, but you try and keep tabs on every piece of paper in an office space…uh huh.

My desk is rather large, but the usable space is now limited to only the area 6 inches from each edge…otherwise it’s fair game for Mr. Sticky Fingers!

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And you can’t possibly be mad at that little face!

I finally had to yell at him the other day after he’d not only pulled every file off my desk, but also pulled out all the files’ contents and spread them all over my office in the course of about 30 seconds. ¬†He just turned around and looked at me with a scrunchy nose.

¬†I imagine he was thinking “what do you mean “NO”? These delicious paper items are for me, aren’t they?!”

This Little Monster Turned 1

A year already! Man how time flies…seriously, it’ll hit you pretty hard cuz you won’t barely see it coming. ¬†Before you know it your little baby turns into a little boy.

For J’s birthday I chose a Monster Theme. Seemed appropriate for a little one who is constantly tearing into everything and going-going all the time!

I found the invitations on Etsy for only $8! Awesome price for a super cute custom invite, then just print it yourself ūüôā

monster invite

 Then I used inspiration from Pinterest for the cupcakes and smash cake

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¬†I found candy googly-eyes in the cake stuff isle at the grocery store – perfect addition to a simple cupcake and some butter cream frosting. ¬†For the cake and cupcakes I used box cake but made a few substitutions to make it a little less box-cake-y. ¬†Use milk instead of water, add an extra egg, add a 1tsp of vanilla, and use butter in place of the oil. ¬†Super easy substitution and I thought it make the cake a little lighter and tastier than usual too. ¬†For the cake I baked 2 – 9″ rounds then stacked them and cut it into a googly shape. ¬†Then I used a piping bag and a grass/hair tip to get the stringy texture for the frosting. ¬†It wasn’t the quickest process, but looked pretty good for being a novice cake decorator. ¬†I used doughnut holes for the eyes, and found a cute #1 candle to add.

The cake smash didn’t go quite like it’s “supposed” to though. ¬†J wasn’t very interested in eating the frosting or the cake…

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We though that as soon as he tried some of the frosting he’d be hooked and get the idea….

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Guess we were wrong…

We tried moving him out of the highchair to see if that would help any…I think even T had better luck with the cake smash then J did!

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Then daddy stepped up and showed him how’s it done

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Opened some pretty awesome additions to J’s toy collection too!

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But I think the part he liked the BEST was playing in the MUD!  What a silly messy boy!

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And we got to share some pretty Awesome news with our family and friends too…

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This Little Monster is gonna be a BIG BROTHER! 

A little Torticollis, a little Flat Head Syndrome

As new parents¬†there are and will be many many things that you’ll do wrong. ¬†Or that you’ll be totally unaware of. ¬†Or that you’ll have no idea even exists as a potential problem, until you do that thing and it affects your child.

As new parents ourselves, we had no idea how hard surfaces and a tendency to turn his head one direction would cause not only a giant flat spot on the back side of J’s head but that it would also affect the muscles in his neck. ¬†When he was really tiny I’d lay him on my desk at my office (which was the best place to keep an eye and a hand on him)…this is way before he started rolling, don’t worry. ¬†Who knew that this hard surface would lead to such a flat area on the right-back side of J’s head?! ¬†And ¬†who knew that you had to pay close attention to the side of the head your little one likes to lay on?! ¬†Well, these are all things that you learn ONLY if these things happen to your kid!

We’d only just noticed that J’s head was a little flat right before we headed to his 3 month appointment. ¬†Of course the Doc noticed as soon as he walked in the door. ¬†Dead giveaway is when the baby isn’t looking straight up at the ceiling…for further reference. ¬†Apparently what happens is that when they tend to turn their head only to one side (J preferred the right) ¬†that the neck muscles tighten on that side, and stretch on the other side. ¬†So to resolve this you have to stretch the neck the other direction to loosen that side and even up the ¬†lengths and strengths of the muscles. So began the many weeks of neck stretches. ¬†BTW babies don’t particularly like this. ¬†You have to hold them down and gently tilt their head the opposite direction of whichever way they normally tend to tilt it. ¬†Then you also rotate their neck from side to side. ¬†Yeah…so much fun to do this while they are screaming at you. ¬†Makes you feel like you’re torturing them.

 

neck stretch torticollis excersices

The flat spot on his head the Doc described to us as when you push on one corner of a cardboard box and the opposite corner also tilts out-of-place. ¬†J had “plagiocephaly” as shown in the pic below.

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To correct this and avoid needing a helmet, we had to very closely watch which side of his head he laid on at all times. ¬†For the first few weeks we had to do everything in our power to keep him from laying on the right side of his head. ¬†Not so easy, let me tell ya. ¬†It involved tilting his body to one side when he was laying or sleeping, and using extra padding around the head support in his car seat. ¬†We also used the Tortle¬†– a hat or sorts that was created specifically to help with torticollis and Flat Head Syndrome in infants. It worked pretty well when J was still little enough not to squirm too much, but we had to stop using it once he could wiggle his head enough to get the “tail” of the hat moved around. ¬†Another product I learned about much later was the Baby Elephant Ears¬†– this product would really help towards prevention of torticollis and FHS, and is super cute too!

Luckily for us it only took a few weeks of doing the exercises and making sure to even out which side J laid on to get the flat spot to mostly go away and for the neck muscles to even out. ¬†By his 6 month appointment he was as back to “normal” as we would be able to get him.

Such a silly little oversight, but something that I warn all my new parent friends about. ¬†J will always have a slightly flat spot and misshapen head to go with it, but luckily we caught it early enough to correct it enough that you can’t tell unless you know what you’re looking for. ¬†Even after years of childcare for infants, I’d never seen either Torticollis or FHS…but hopefully now you can share this information with your fellow first-time parents and avoid a little headache ūüôā

Water Play

I’m so excited that it’s warm enough outside to break out the water play outdoors! ¬†I think J is gonna be a water baby! He loves bath time, fountains, and sprinklers. ¬†But water play can be just a bunch of kitchen tools and a tub of water. ¬†Easy peasy and keeps the little ones entertained for quite a while. ¬†J especially loves the baster brush and kept using it to splash the water or paint the patio.

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What a fun simple way to spend an afternoon, and it’s totally FREE too!

Routine

rou·tine: a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program

Now that I really think about it, I remember hearing a lot about establishing a routine from the time you bring baby home. ¬†I also remember that the part that actually stuck with me was to let the baby establish their own routine…Maybe I just imagined that’s what the advice really was. ¬†Although I’m pretty sure that at least some of the advice we got from the hospital classes and other moms and the books was that when babies very new they should be able to eat, sleep, etc as often and whenever they need to or want to. ¬†I guess somewhere between bringing J home and about 2 weeks ago, we forgot to start establishing an actual routine. ¬†All along we’ve pretty much let J eat, sleep, nurse when he wanted to or needed to. ¬†I must have missed the memo on when to make the transition from baby-led routine to parent-led routine.

Since J has been with me all day I have let him lead on establishing his own “routine” or whatever you want to call it. ¬†However since I have him with me at work and not at home, I have found it more difficult to try to establish a nap routine in particular. ¬†I’m in an office all day where I do have a door, but the walls are thin and between the phone’s ringing and needing to work even while he’s sleeping it’s taken until recently for him to be able to sleep long enough and hard enough for those things to not interrupt his sleep pattern. ¬†This is one thing I really envy about stay-at-home mammas – the ability to put the kiddo in their own crib in their own space where it can be quiet and dark all at the same time! ¬†But I’ve worked with what I’ve got and it’s been good enough.

J used to nurse as often as he wanted. ¬†Anytime he was a little fussy, before naps, when he had a boo-boo – he got to nurse. ¬†It goes without saying that when he was really tiny he ate every hour or two – as all newborn should. ¬†But he’s really always nursed often. ¬†He’s just recently weaned down to 4-6 times a day. ¬†Mostly before nap times and whenever he wakes at night. ¬†So, I guess you could call that a routine. ¬†Ok, I guess we managed to figure that one out somewhere along the way!

What about eating? ¬†This one was pretty easy to establish a routine since I pretty much feed him at mealtimes and whenever I’m hungry. ¬†I figure if I’m hungry then he probably is too. ¬†And now¬†that he’s eating pretty much anything, he eats whatever we eat plus snacks when he wakes up from nap.

The hardest one was napping and sleeping. ¬†Our struggles with J’s sleep routine, especially at night, have been going on since he was born. ¬†We though we started off on the right foot when he would sleep 3-4 hours at a time when we brought him home. ¬†But that soon went downhill and he didn’t quickly establish a longer sleep routine. ¬†For the first 9 months we struggled with J waking 3-4 times a night in order to nurse or be helped back to sleep. The good news is that for the last two weeks or so, J has been sleeping for 6+ hours before he wakes, and only wakes once during the night. ¬†He’s also been sleeping until after 6am. ¬†Hooray! ¬†¬†Luckily he has (slowly) managed to wean himself down to 1-2 wake-ups¬†a night. ¬†He still nurses to get back to sleep, but I can handle that many wake ups at least. ¬†With napping, J used to be able to sleep whenever he got a little fussy. ¬†For months he would only sleep for 30 minutes but would need a nap almost every hour or two. ¬†Only in the last few weeks has he started sleeping for an hour to an hour and a half on a regular basis! ¬†He’s also moved to 2-3 naps a day depending on the length of each nap. ¬†We’ve kept his bedtime at 7pm since he was about 6 months.

So in the end I guess we did finally end up with a routine! ¬†Horray! ¬†Now that we’ve been through it all the hard way, we’d certainly do it differently the second time around. ¬†I’m glad that we’ve managed to keep a few things solid (bedtime and meals) and I’m now a HUGE believer that more sleep leads to more sleep. ¬†It wasn’t until J started sleeping a regular 1 to 1 1/2 hours a few times a day that his nighttime sleeping also smoothed out and increased. ¬†I’m also now an advocate for establishing more of a sleep routine (if possible) as early as possible. ¬†I know that it’s sometimes easier said than done though…so let’s hope that when it’s time for the second time around that we can figure it out along the way. ¬†Either way at least now we seem to be on the right path.

This parenthood thing can be more of a challenge than you think sometimes. ¬†But you work your way through it eventually, just like with anything else ūüôā