Archive for the ‘Baby’ Category

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The Woombie–Giveaway!

January 23, 2013

In just a few weeks, our not-so-little baby will be six months old. Six months! Fellow mamas, I know you know how bittersweet this milestone could be for me. Six months is when babies start sitting up. Six months is when babies rock back and forth on their hands and knees to let you know that they are dangerously close to crawling. Six months means solid foods and a fading bald spot. Six-month-old babies mimic “words” and are vocal about their likes and dislikes. Six months is, in my mind, when babies officially graduate from newborn to baby.

And when we hit the six month mark, I’ll be sad. I may cry. Because these past six months have been precious,  sweet, calm, and dare I say it?…fun.

Compare that to our first six months with our older daughter. As I’ve already mentioned, she was not an “easy” newborn. One mistake I think we made with our oldest is that we didn’t swaddle her long enough. That is not a mistake we’re in danger of repeating this time! This baby is still swaddled (loosely, I’ve read all about hip dysplasia) every night. And now that we have this new baby swaddle she’s in it for her long nap every. single. day.

Here’s what I honestly think of our Woombie (Convertible, Mega Baby):

Pros:

It’s foolproof. When it comes to swaddling, I’m a complete fool. But even I can’t mess this up. And that, I believe, is the Woombie’s greatest strength. Lay the baby down, zip it up, done!

It helps the baby sleep. For reasons I cannot explain, our baby has regularly taken a three-hour afternoon nap since she was about 2.5 months old. Unfortunately, all of the credit doesn’t go to Woombie. If it did, can you imagine how fast their swaddles would sell? Parents everywhere would be begging for one! But our sweet, sleepy baby slept that long even before the Woombie. HOWEVER, this swaddle sack has reduced the number of times the baby has pulled out her paci and woken herself up. And I think it helps her sleep more soundly. Like all swaddles, it certainly reduces the startle reflex.

Our Convertible Woombie converts to a regular sleep sack. Now that she’s older, our baby likes to have a toy or lovey in her hand. The Woombie allows for that.

Woombie makes sizes that fit bigger and older babies. This is a big deal to me! Ours is the 20-25 pound Mega Baby size. No, our six month old isn’t quite that big, but I think the extra room is mostly in the length. Additionally, when we kept her arms in the swaddle, there was enough stretch and give for her to hold her own hands, a self-soothing habit she enjoyed.

Because they make sizes that fit older babies, the convertible option has use far beyond the normal age of a commercial swaddle blanket. Lots of moms use sleep sacks instead of blankets until their babies are toddlers. The “Convertible Leggies” option is also good for older babies.

There’s no velcro! Velcro can come undone, and my baby can wiggle out of a velcro swaddle. Also, time will take its toll on velcro, but the zipper on the Woombie isn’t going to wear out like the velcro on other swaddle blankets.

The two-way zipper allows for easy diaper changes. Since our baby is older (and FINALLY needs fewer diaper changes!), this isn’t an issue for us. But it is a handy feature.

There’s enough room for her hips and legs to move. Again, this helps with hip dysplasia.

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The Woombie and our curly-haired, sleeping baby.

Cons:

It’s looser than some of the other swaddles. If you want a tight swaddle, consider one of the other Woombie products, not the convertible swaddle (check out the Houdini).

It’s not exactly pretty: I hate to say it, but it looks like a baby straight jacket. (For the record, it’s definitely NOT a straight jacket. As Woombie explains, it needs to be snug to imitate the womb.  Plus it’s made with four-way, stretchy fabric. This allows the baby to move naturally.) However, because we use it for every afternoon nap, family, friends, and strangers had plenty of opportunities to give us odd looks and comments during Christmastime and on vacation. People just aren’t used to seeing a baby zipped up. But, parents, is that a deal breaker? If it helps your baby sleep, do you care how it looks? Absolutely not! Bring on the comments and stares!

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Final verdict? It helps my baby sleep and makes my mommy job easier. Of course I love it! And if you win the one that Woombie has offered to send one lucky winner, I hope you will, too!

Want to win a Woombie?

Click on over to the giveaway link and enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

(It’s easy! I promise!)

By commenting, you agree to the official rules. Giveaway ends on Monday, January 28 at 3:00 p.m. EST. 
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Don’t Get the Puppy

January 15, 2013

Young Couples Everywhere,

Here’s a bit of unsolicited advice: don’t get the puppy.

Even if that two-pound bundle of cuteness is on sale. Even if you discover it’s hypoallergenic.

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Don’t get the puppy. 

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Because if you do get the puppy, that little puppy will become your child. She’ll go with you everywhere.

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Literally, everywhere–church, weddings, walmart, football games, and on airplane rides.

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You’ll buy puppy sweaters and special puppy chew toys. You’ll go to puppy class, and you’ll teach her tricks. You’ll brag to everyone that she is the smartest, most-talented dog ever. She jumps through hoops! She puts her toys away! She dances! She’s probably even smarter than Lassie.

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You’ll take her on long walks, and you’ll watch the Dog Whisperer. You won’t mind when she eats a whole package of birth control pills or chews through a leash. She’s just a puppy, after all.

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Eventually that puppy will get older. You’ll still love her, because she’s your dog daughter. But you start to notice how inconvenient she is. You’ll still travel (because you swore a dog wouldn’t hold you back), but it’s a pain to find someone to watch your (usually) sweet schnoodle pup.

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You’ll get annoyed when she has accidents. You’ll look for ways to get her to stop barking and to stop eating poop. She’s no longer a puppy. Shouldn’t she have outgrown those bad habits by now?

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And then, if you’re like most couples, one day you’ll decide a dog daughter is not enough.

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You start to want a real daughter.

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And one day that daughter will be born, and you’ll wonder how the dog will do. Will she like the baby? Will she growl? Will she bite?

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But then you realize it’s not the dog’s behavior around the baby that bothers you. It’s that the dog eats Kleenexes out of the trash, licks the lotion off your legs, and barks at all the visitors. And every day she needs silly, inconvenient things like walks and dog food.

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Gradually, the dog will stop going with you everywhere. Not because you don’t love her (although you may begin to doubt your love), but because you just don’t have enough hands or energy to manage hauling around a dog and a baby. 

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A few months later, you’ll come home with a second baby. And you’ll struggle to even find a picture with the dog, because the dog gets even less attention now that there are two babies. The dog is no longer important.

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And one day your dog may escape the house and disappear for awhile, and (to your surprise) your first feeling is relief. (One less thing to take care of.) And then guilt. (She was/is your dog daughter.) And then sadness. (Because deep down you believe there is something good about kids growing up around a dog. They learn to love animals and have fewer allergies.)

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But, still. This parenting thing is hard. Maybe there’s a compromise? Your husband takes the dog to work and tries to convince his coworkers they need an office dog. And it seems to be working.

Until one day your two-year-old cries as daddy and dog are leaving and says, “No, Daddy! You can’t take Sofi. I miss her.”

And that’s when you realize…she’s no longer your dog.  Although it will be a few years before they can walk/feed/care for her, the dog belongs to your kids. You can’t (ever) get rid of her.  Because she’s part of the family. Your babies love her unconditionally. They need you to keep her. They don’t know life without her.

So young couples, make it easy on yourselves. Don’t get the puppy.

Or do.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Survival Mode–Cold and Flu Season

January 8, 2013

All families have seasons when they’re surviving rather than thriving. Sometimes it’s because of something tragic, but let’s not go there today.

Today let’s talk about the everyday life kind of things that kick us into survival mode: weekends when Mom shivers and shakes on the couch. Nights when Daddy brings the toddler to the guest bed with him because that’s the only way to get her to stop crying and coughing, and it takes the tot four hours to fall back to sleep. Afternoons when the five-month-old worries her parents with her raspy cough. Mornings when the two-year-old screams and cries, “Go, Mommy! Go! I don’t want to see you! Daddy! Dada? Daddy! I. WANT. MY. DADDY!” But Daddy’s not there because he goes to work so that Mommy can be there on days when her kids wake up tired and sick and want nothing more than their mommy… daddy?

Sigh.

Yep, the worst cold ever has hit our family, and we’re simply trying to survive. What does that look like for us?

1.) We put relationships ahead of tasks. Actually, “relationships over tasks” is a family motto. But it becomes even more important when we’re sick. The laundry baskets are overflowing. The counter has crumbs. The house is filled with post-holiday, post-vacation chaos. And a poopy pair of the baby’s pajamas may have been thrown on the hallway floor this morning. (Both girls were crying! My head was about to explode!) But that’s okay. Because giving myself permission to ignore those things helped me to feel calm when I picked my screaming toddler up out of bed and rocked and held her (which, unfortunately, did not stop the screaming. I told you it was bad around here.)

2) We accept help. I was about to turn to freezer food when my parents offered to give us a meal for the second time in one day. And then the next day I texted them to ask them to take the toddler for a few hours so we could rest. Shameless or smart? You decide.

3) We avoid our (young) friends. As desperately as I’d like to have the distraction of my toddler’s friends, it’s so not cool to expose them to our nastiness. Granted, the girls haven’t had a fever (yet?!), but from the first day of symptoms, we avoided places with little people–like church and play dates with friends–until we’re officially on the mend.

4) We make exceptions. From the moment she opened her eyes this morning, the toddler cried. And screamed. And wailed. After thirty tortuous minutes, she asked to go back to bed with her “bobby” (her word for pacifier). Are we trying to lose the paci for good? Yep. Has it been almost a year since she’s had a morning nap? Yep. Is today a day for exceptions? Yep.

5) We try natural remedies. Dang it, people! I want some NyQuil! I’m so sick of the pressure and congestion. But I’m nursing, and I can’t take those kinds of drugs. And, ultimately, that’s okay, because I’m certain that nursing has protected the baby from the worst of the cold. And really, this cold is likely caused by a virus and what can you do for a virus? Treat the symptoms. So the toddler gets warm water with honey and lemon juice. (Does it help the cough? Maybe?) I’ve tried a heating pad, a bag of frozen peas on my forehead, vapor rub (with caution since it’s not approved for babies and the baby is on my chest when she eats), nasal spray, Breathe Right strips, and even tylenol and ibuprofen. I didn’t need any medicine for my delivery or postpartum recovery, but the pressure is too much! What else would you recommend?

6) We choose convenience. While I believe good nutrition helps keep us all healthy, I just had a protein bar and a can of diet coke for breakfast. True story. The toddler will probably get a frozen waffle (which is, honestly, not that unusual). For lunch, we’ll do leftovers–cut up cantaloupe, yogurt, oatmeal (yes, we have leftover oatmeal.). Anything somewhat healthy that we can pull out of the fridge or freezer. Desperate times, people, desperate times.

7) We look on the bright side. (And use clichés! Clichés are allowed in survival mode.) The toddler’s extra nap gave me extra play time with the baby and a free moment to take care of those poopy pajamas. And since both girls were asleep this morning, I had time for some much-needed, therapeutic blogging.

8) We pray. Am I proud of the fact that I don’t pray as much when I’m healthy as I do when our family is sick? Absolutely not. But there’s nothing  like sickness and weakness to remind me of my need for God.

I wanted to come up with a nice, even list of ten tips But that’s just not going to happen. Because we’re in survival mode. But, hey! The toddler is awake after her morning nap, and SHE’S HAPPY! Are we on the mend? Let’s hope!

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Traveling with Two to the San Diego Zoo

January 6, 2013

The adults loved San Diego because we love travel, the ocean, adventure, and sunshine. Our two-year-old loved “Sandy Eggo” because of the airplane ride, the sand, unlimited access to grandparents, and the animals. Oh, the animals! What toddler doesn’t love animals?

For animal-loving tots, the San Diego Zoo is a must-see. It’s famous. It’s huge. It has cute (rare, famous, giant) pandas.

Included in our multi-park pass was a bus tour around the park. Do it! You see 70% of the zoo in just over half an hour. We walked the first day and rode the bus the second. With two strollers, lots of hills, and two tired little ones, it’s no surprise that we were all much happier on the second day. One of my favorite things about the bus ride was seeing the zoo’s animal ambassadors. We saw an arctic wolf out for a casual stroll with its trainer. On other days, you may see a cheetah or a blue-tongued skink.

The Skyfari was also included in our pass. It’s a four-minute ride over the zoo forest. Strollers that fold can ride, too!

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With little ones, the petting zoo is a must. There aren’t any really special animals in there, but when was the last time you got to pet a sheep or a goat?

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Like SeaWorld, the zoo has live animal cameras–pandas, polar bear, ape, and elephants. Check them out before and after you go!

Parking at the zoo is free! It’s located in Balboa Park, which is also home to a Science Center. Our local museum membership got our family of four in for free because of the passport program. Score!

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The best bang for your buck is definitely with the multi-park pass. (Did I mention kids three and under are free?) With that option, how can you go to San Diego and not visit the zoo? Next time we’ll be sure to visit the Safari Park as well. Has anyone been there?

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The Woombie–Giveaway Extended!

November 24, 2012

In my last post, I mentioned how much our baby loves to be swaddled.

But I failed to mention how bad I am at swaddling. I’m so bad that after the baby eats in the middle of the night, I wake Nate just so he can swaddle her.

That’s pretty bad.

I was searching for larger swaddles (our girl is growing fast!) and came across the Woombie. Have you tried it? It looks pretty foolproof. But, just to be sure, Woombie is going to send me one to review. While I wait for mine to arrive, there’s a giveaway happening on their facebook page. Enter to win a gift set for your baby or to use for your next baby shower gift! It’s been extended to November 30th! 

Check it out here: Woombie Giveaway. 

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100 Days of Crying

November 20, 2012

I’ve read that colic is sometimes called “100 days of crying.” We just passed the 100 day mark with our little baby, and we have definitely not had 100 days of crying. Our sweet baby has been calm and happy from the beginning.  In fact, I think it’s now safe to say that she’s what you might call an “easy” newborn.

Now, before you hate me, let me tell you how incredibly NOT easy her big sister was.

From day one, Big Sister was a fussy baby. No, really–day one!  I have memories from the hospital of a zombie-like Nate bouncing Big Sister in a dark, quiet corner. When we brought her home, we spent hours each night (and day) swaying on the exercise ball, bouncing her in our arms, doing laps around the house, and switching the baby back and forth from swing to bouncer.

I wrote this when Big Sister was three-weeks-old: “A few nights ago, I got 7 hours of sleep.  Sounds great, right?  Well, yes, until you consider that I got 7 hours of sleep out of an ATTEMPTED 14.  That’s 14 hours of changing diapers, feeding, burping, rocking, and trying to get all of us to sleep.”

And I wrote this to Big Sister when she was one month: “Let’s be honest–we’re in the ‘why do people have kids?!’ phase.  Don’t get me wrong-we love you, but life is tough right now.  And pre-baby life was so easy and wonderful and quiet and predictable.  We’re not handling the middle-of-the-night feedings, fussy times, and diaper changes very well.  We both just want to sleep.”

With all of that, you’d think we would have prayed that the second baby would have been easier.  Nope. We love our spunky, smart, confident, outgoing two-year-old. And I have to assume that her personality as a newborn somehow factors into her personality now. Instead of praying that our second child would be easier, our prayer was that God would help us to nurture and love whatever personality He chose to give our new baby. And He answered that prayer. We love this baby’s personality!

To all the parents out there who think there baby is, um, challenging, let’s define what I mean when I say our new baby is “easy.”

To me, “easy” simply means that she sleeps. And since she sleeps, Mommy and Daddy sleep. And since she naps well, Mommy gets a break during the day. That’s all it takes to be considered “easy” in my book! Because if I get some sleep and a little break, I can better handle poop, spit up, toddler tantrums, and baby meltdowns. Everything is easier when you get good sleep.

Here’s what having an easy baby does not mean:

1) It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t cry. Baby Z cries when she’s hungry or when she’s overstimulated in the evening. But we are really proactive when it comes to sleepiness and hunger, so she doesn’t cry much.

2) It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need help to sleep. I figure that every baby has a favorite trick that parents need to learn to help their particular baby calm down and go to sleep.

A friend just texted me the other day to say that her new baby falls asleep to the sound of the hair dryer.

Big Sister’s trick was motion. She needed to move.

Baby Sister likes to lie flat on her back in a dark room. Um, yeah, in the middle of the night, can you guess which daughter is/was easier to put back to sleep?

Also, we are big fans of swaddle blankets. Big, big fans. I don’t know if it’s because the baby spent a week tightly swaddled in the NICU or what, but swaddling definitely helps. And both girls used pacis. Love ’em, hate ’em–they work for us. Granted, the baby doesn’t always take one when she goes back to sleep in the middle of the night. She just talks to herself, coos, and eventually nods off on her own.  (Awesome!) But she does use a paci for naps.

3) It doesn’t mean she’s clean. In the past three months of the new baby’s life, I have been pooped and puked on more times than I can count. I’ve had friends say things like, “Wow, she spits a lot.” Or “That baby poops more than any other baby I’ve met.” Both are true. And yeah, all of those outfit changes, extra loads of laundry, and poop smears on the wall are a pain, but at least I’m getting some sleep.

4) It does not mean we’re good parents. Or that fussy babies have bad parents. It’s true that we’re different people and different parents than we were with our first child. But that’s nothing compared to how vastly different our two girls are. Please remember that the next time you hear a screaming baby or toddler in Walmart or see desperate parents trying to soothe a fussy child in a restaurant. That child’s behavior may have nothing to do with the parents ability or inability to parent. And although it may inconvenience the rest of us, fussy babies (and their exhausted parents) need to leave the house and venture out in public now and then, too.

So to parents with sweet, happy babies I say:  thank God every day for your easy baby (you may not realize how lucky you are). Enjoy your rest (so many parents wish for what you have). Pray that your baby’s pleasant personality turns into positive adult traits like optimism and flexibility (because “happy” and “calm” is not the same as “weak” and “passive.”)

And to parents with grumpy babies: this stage will pass (sooner than you think). You will someday get some sleep (give it a year or two). Don’t blame yourself (you’re a better parent then you realize). And don’t be scared to have another baby (the next baby could and should be completely different).

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Christmas Bucket List

November 14, 2012

After my last weighty post about Santa Claus, I figured it was time for something fun and lighthearted.

The Advent calendars with activity ideas are good in theory; however, I’m terrible with the execution. Sure, I’d like to be able to say with certainty that on December 13th we’ll have hot chocolate and bake cookies. But on December 13th our toddler may have resisted her nap for close to two hours. Or our newborn may have pooped through her clothes and puked on me (twice). Or maybe someone will have a cold. Or maybe Daddy will get home late. Or maybe Mommy will just not be up for loading everyone into the car and looking at Christmas lights in our pajamas at 7:00 p.m. on December 20th. With two little ones, I just can’t plan that precisely or that far in advance.

So this year we’re trying something new. Instead of assigning each activity to a specific day, we’ve created a bucket list filled with fun ideas we’d like to get around to sometime during the Christmas season. Most of the activities are for the parents or the two-year-old, but I do want to make sure we make Baby’s First Christmas memorable (Okay, so she won’t actually remember it, but you know what I mean!) for our little baby.

Our list is saved as a picture, so click on it to enlarge and read. Feel free to personalize, print, or share!

 

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What ideas would you add?