A few of our favorite things

It’s another cold, snowy, miserable day in Indy. I’m sick, A is sick, and it’s been really hard to get motivated to do anything the past couple days. My messy house can attest to that. So, it’s going to be a fun post today, y’all, because I need something light and fun. Today, let’s talk about some of my (and Baby A’s) current favorite things! This doesn’t need too much of an intro, right? Right, so let’s just jump right in.

1. Avent Natural Drinking Cup–I bought this a long time ago, and for whatever reason it has been sitting in the back of the cabinet, forgotten. We rediscovered it, and it’s been our go to cup. Toddlers can drink from all around the rim which makes for transitioning to a grown up cup easier. Plus, there aren’t forty bajillion pieces to clean. I’ve already put three more in my Amazon cart for Valentine’s Day and her Easter basket.

2. Stonyfield Yo Toddler Organic Yogurt Pouches–A loves loves LOVES yogurt. She hasn’t mastered eating with a spoon yet, so if she gets yogurt it means I have to feed it to her, and it’s always challenging because SHE wants to do it HERSELF, and it’s always a mess. I saw these at my last trip to Target, and I didn’t even care they weren’t on sale. She has mastered eating out of a pouch, and now she can enjoy her beloved yogurt ON HER OWN.

3. Look and Find Book–I bought this specific book for A last Easter, and she is obsessed with it now. She brings it to me several times a day. She doesn’t get the look and find part yet, but she loves the pictures. It’s not really a read to me type of book, but I make up stories based on the pictures and scenes and point out the different things to her. She really loves to hear me make the animal sounds, and she will “roar” or “moo” with me.

4. Aden and Anais security blankets–Having your child take to a lovie is both a blessing and a curse, I think. On the one hand, this calms her down almost instantly, and if it’s in her hands she will go right to sleep almost anywhere. On the other, if she’s got it in her hands she’s sucking her thumb, and I am not looking forward to the day we have to break both these habits which are now very clearly linked. But for now, A’s lovie is basically a fourth family member. We have several of them so there is always one laying around. She has one with her always (except at daycare, even I know better than to let her take it there).

5. Tea Forte tea brewing system–Obviously this is one of my favorite things not A’s. John got me this for Christmas, and I’m pretty obsessed with it. I’ve been drinking a lot of loose leaf tea lately, so if you’re in to herbal teas and such, this is a really easy way to brew it. The infuser is way easier to clean than others I’ve had.

Out of curiosity, how would y’all feel about me posting recipes here? I’ve been back to meal planning, which means I am cooking most nights of the week. Most of the things are easy to prepare and use very few ingredients, which means they are great for the working mom, or any mom, set. I’m thinking of doing a weekly feature on Wednesdays for weeknight meals, but wanted to get some feedback first. I would even consider doing contributing posts from other mamas with awesome recipes if that is something anyone else is interested in. Let me know what you think!

The Best Things About Having a Toddler

A is being very toddler-ish today. More so than usual. Temper tantrums, refusing food, screaming for no reason, knocking her cup and plate off the table, pulling the socks I just put on her feet off. You know, all the fun quirks that come with this age.

It’s been a frustrating day. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said, “No,” or, “Please stop,” or, “Don’t do that.”

This toddler age is without a doubt one of the single most infuriating phases of a child’s life, but it’s also adorable. It’s filled with challenges, precociousness, and funny/precious moments. I love the latter and am learning how to respond appropriately to the former. On days like today, it’s helpful to remember all the good things about this age.

She is learning so much about her world. And she shows it in the cutest ways. Yesterday we went to the store to get new shoes and basics for A, and when we were checking out I said, “She’s looking at your cool new shoes,” (I got her a sweet pair of light up sneakers, she’s gonna be the coolest kid at daycare) and A kicked out her feet, looked down at her shoes, and pointed, as if to say, “I have shoes, look at them! I love shoes!”

She is starting to show signs of affection. When A was a baby, I knew she loved me because she would smile when she saw me. She still does that, but she’s also showing other forms of affection. She makes my day when she runs up to give me one of her open mouth kisses, or climbs up on my lap for a snuggle. She even started giving hugs lately, in which she will pat your back. It’s the sweetest.

She is growing into her own little person. It’s during this time this toddlers really come into their own. A’s personality is really starting to make itself apparent. It’s fun to watch her react to different situations. She is definitely shy, more introverted, hang back in the wings type. It’ll be interesting to see if she is always this reserved or if she gets a little more daring as she gets older.

Her attention span is getting longer. It’s nice that she can focus on one thing longer now, which means she doesn’t get bored as easily. She loves bringing me books for us to read together. Oddly enough, her favorite book right now is a book about Thanksgiving. This longer attention span also means it’s much easier to take her places.

Speaking of taking her places, she is much easier to transport. No more having to worry about packing the world to go to the grocery store, or planning my day around mealtimes and nap times. For the most part I can just throw a couple diapers, a snack or two, and a sippy cup in my purse, and we are good to go.

I know we still have a ways to go in our toddler journey, but I also know for every frustrating moment we have, there will be way more sweet moments. She’s still the cutest thing, even if she does drive me crazy sometimes.

Baby talk

When A was born, I swore I wasn’t going to be the parent that worried about when my kid did anything. As long as her doctor was okay with her development, I would be too. So far, for the most part, I’ve done pretty well at this. Believe me, though, it hasn’t been easy. Man, parents can sure be petty braggarts, can’t they?

“Oh she’s not crawling? Little Bobby started crawling at three months old!”

“She hasn’t started feeding herself? Susie has been using a fork and spoon since we started solids.”

“You mean you haven’t even introduced her to the potty yet?”

Most of it is silly, and I don’t really care. When it came to gross motor skills, A has been consistently average. She rolled over at five months, crawled around 10 months, and walked around 13-14 months. She’s also always been small for her age, so I figured that had something to do with not making the early adopter marks.

There is one thing, though, that has had me mildly concerned the past couple months, and that’s how few words A is saying. She “talks” a lot, as in vocalizes, but she isn’t putting sounds together sounds to make words. At least words that I can decipher, anyway. She says “da da” and “ma ma” but usually in long strings of syllables, as in “da da da da” or “ma ma ma ma,” which she does with most consonants, and I’m not 100% sure she is saying them with meaning attached (although I know she knows who we are).

Truthfully, most of the time I have zero idea what she is saying (she knows exactly what she is saying though, and she says it with real conviction, let me tell ya). I just kind of go along with it. I make it a point to speak slowly and tell her what everything she’s interacting with is. The other night she had pulled her socks off and was carrying them around, and I must have said “socks, you have your socks” fifty billion times.

I know she comprehends what we say because if we tell her to do something, most of the time she will do it. In face that night when I asked her where socks go, she tried to put them on her feet. She gets it, she just can’t say it. She can’t say no, but she will shake her head when she doesn’t want to do something. “A , can I have a kiss?” *emphatically shakes head*

Honestly, I  only had a passing concern a couple weeks ago that maybe it was something I should talk about, at her next well baby visit, if you know, it was still going on then. Until this weekend, when we went to one of her little friend’s birthday parties. I noticed there may be a bigger difference in her and other kids her age than I thought. There was another little girl there the same age as A. Not only was she physically bigger than A, but she was much more vocal. Ironically, she has the same name as A and was born five days after her, so they are very close in age. She was talking a lot, and very clearly had what I think would be an expansive vocabulary for a 16 month old. Granted I am not an expert, but still, all of these things led me to believe she was at least 18 months old, maybe even closer to two, so imagine when my surprise when she is the same age as my child.

It was also during this time I realized how much more reserved A is than other toddlers her age. Where the other kids (between 12 and 16 months) were playing with toys and interacting in the same general vicinity of each other, mine wanted nothing to do with any of it. In fact, she went in the opposite direction of the toys and the play, preferring to romp around the near empty kitchen. Eventually, I got her to go into the play area with me, and she was glued to lap for a good half an hour. It wasn’t until a couple of the kids and most of the adults at the party had left before she finally ventured off my lap and started playing.

Clearly, she is shy, which isn’t a bad thing. I was shy as a kid. Hell, I still am shy. She could be introverted, and there is nothing wrong with these things. It was the first time I was able to watch her with other kids her age, since in the mornings at daycare she is eating, and by the time I get her she is over tired and ready to melt down. It just wasn’t something I noticed until she was around very boisterous kids her age.

Which is not to say A isn’t boisterous, she is, just usually only when she is at home, with us. And granted, there were a lot of things about this weekend that may have caused her to withdraw and be quiet. Just like gross motor skills, verbal communication doesn’t happen at the same age for every toddler. She has a lot working towards her being later in talking. She’s the first child; there is no older sibling to teach her to talk. She’s in a daycare, so she interacts (I’m assuming she isn’t completely antisocial at daycare, at least I hope not) with kids the same age as her with varying levels of verbal communication skills. I’m sure they all understand each other perfectly and are plotting world domination. Totally possible. Probable even.

So for right now, I’m not going to worry about her speech too much, but I am going to keep an ear on it, and maybe ask daycare to as well, and bring it up with her doctor at her next well baby visit. And until I’m told otherwise, I’m going to enjoy her sweet little babbling, because as long as she isn’t saying real worlds, she’s not mimicking all of the bad words Mommy accidently says. Oops.

Winter necessities (for mama and baby)

It’s a snow day here in Indy. I’m pretty sure this is my first snow day ever. Growing up in southern Louisiana, it’s not something we saw a lot of, and the one winter I spent in Boston was mild enough that BU never closed for snow. We got 13 inches of snow yesterday, on top of the the 6-7 on the ground from last week. There’s over 20 inches of snow in my yard right now. Some of the snow drifts are over two feet.

It’s also really freaking cold. Like, the coldest it’s been in decades. Right now, it’s -15 and feels like -40. Let’s let that sink in for a minute. Negative. Forty. This is the type of cold that will freeze your skin if you are in it for longer than a couple minutes. Ridiculous. 

How are we surviving this ridiculous winter weather? I think we’ve adapted pretty well to the cold (not today’s cold, this cold is too damn cold), but there are a few things A and I could not live without this winter.

For Mama**

mom winter

  1. A good winter coat: Even though it makes you look like the Michelin man.
  2. Fleece jacket: I’m pretty sure I’ve lived in mine since October. Such a great layering piece.
  3. Leggings: To wear under your jeans.
  4. Fleece headband ear warmer: Because hat hair looks good on no one.
  5. “Utilitarian” boots: Ugly? Maybe. Functional and warm? Yes.
  6. Smart Touch Gloves: Because even in sub zero temps you need to be able to unlock your iPhone.
  7. Garnier Triple Nutrition Miracle Oil: Or any oil treatment for your hair. So dry. So static-y.
  8. Really, really, REALLY good moisturizer: I now know what it would feel like if my skin were made of paper. This helps.

For Baby

baby winter

 

  1. Reversible jacket: For my money, a thinner jacket with a full on fleece interior is the best bet for everyday use, but we still have the big, puffy coat for play time in the snow.
  2. Long sleeve onesies: You don’t want that cute little belly to get cold when the shirt rides up!
  3. Fleece footie jim jams: Or “blanket sleepers” as my parents call them.
  4. Snow boots: How cute are those? Seriously, I kind of want a pair.
  5. Mittens, mitten clips, and a hat with a strap: Mittens are a necessary evil for kids, and I dare you to keep them on your kid without mitten clips. I also dare you to keep a hat on your toddler without something holding it on.
  6. Really, really, REALLY good moisturizer: A is prone to eczema, which is exacerbated in dry weather, and in my opinion, Mustela Stelotopia works the best, even if it is freaking expensive.

**Not pictured: Wine and chocolate.

I sincerely hope it is warmer wherever you are than it is here. How are you surviving the winter weather?

Happy New Year

So, this is a little late, I actually started writing this yesterday then got side tracked. Then when I was trying to finish it while multitasking (translation: Holding my fussy, teething toddler), A smacked my keyboard and deleted the post. So I had to rewrite it this morning, but Happy New Year anyway! I hope you all spent your New Year’s Eve and Day doing whatever it is that makes you happy. For me, that was watching the ball drop while drinking champagne on the couch in yoga pants, and reading and playing and movie watching. Bliss.

2013 was definitely A Year for us. If you had asked me last year this time if I saw myself sitting where I am now (on my couch, staring outside at almost six inches of snow and counting), I would have laughed at you. But I am where I am, and I’m pretty happy with it (snow not withstanding). We both started new jobs, watched A turn one and learn and grow so much, and moved 1000 miles away from home to Indiana. 2013 definitely had ups and downs, but overall it was a great year, and I think we are starting 2014 in a great place. I’m ready to see what this year has in store for us.

I’m not doing any fancy resolutions or goals this year. I’m keeping it pretty simple: Be healthy, be happy, write more (not just for this blog, but in general, going to try to get back into freelancing and maybe some short stories), read more, drink more tea, and enjoy my life. I think I can handle those. What are your goals for the new year?

(It’s still snowing, by the way.)