Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Nightly Checklist

It's taken us a while to get some sort of routine going in terms of chores and house responsibilities, but we are finally starting to get in a groove so to speak. 

I am a neat freak by nature.  I am the type A personality that has to have everything just so.  In college, I had everything color coded.  My notebooks matched the colors of my textbooks, and I had a matching pencil to go with each one.  I like to keep things free of clutter and enjoy the minimalist look.  While I'm not that creative in the decorating department, I can clean and organize and dust.

Enter Husband.

He and I are polar opposites.  I swear he has blinders on.  He just doesn't seem to notice things.  He sets them down wherever, refuses to sort through items and instead has papers and old mail and clothing and old toys and electronics just everywhere or piled up. He says he will take care of things "later" and "later" never comes.  It doesn't bother him if the toilet isn't clean.  Or if the floor is dirty.  Or there are dishes in the sink (wait, this is the only one that DOES bother him). 

The first couple of years we were married, I did most of the housecleaning.  We were both going to school and working, so we were both pretty busy.  Husband worked Saturdays while I would stay home and spend the time cleaning, organizing, and trying to make my 400 square foot studio apartment up to par.  Looking back, I think I did a pretty good job.

However, I soon realized that this is the 21st century and no way do I want to do all of the cleaning.  Husband didn't really care to clean, so I learned to let my standards go.  No more multi-hour cleaning sessions for me.  The house may be a little messier, cluttered, and dirty.  But Husband didn't care, so therefore I made the conscious effort not to be as anal about it  (if you come to my classroom, it is immaculate, by the way.  I can be as organized as I want and nobody will change it.  It's empowering).

Seven years and a few residences later, enter Baby.

Since Husband and I are both working full time, taking care of the house went by the wayside.  In a terrible, horrible way.  The bathrooms were disgusting, dishes were piling everywhere, mail was going unsorted, nothing was hanging in the closet because the clothes were all either in the clean pile or the dirty pile. 

On top of being a new mom, nursing Baby, working, sleeping, just plain living, I couldn't keep up. 

I let Husband know how I was feeling (remember, he honestly didn't see a problem.  Men!), and so I came up with our nightly checklist. 

I get home earlier, so it makes sense that I do most of the cooking.  Husband is fine with cooking, but since he gets home later, we wouldn't be eating until after Baby's bedtime.  Not quite realistic.  Instead, he has a meal waiting for him when he gets home.  Now isn't that nice?

After dinner the checklist begins.  It's broken into two sections.  I have to be very very specific here. 

Person A:
Give Baby bath
Change Baby
Put Baby's clothes and diaper away (we use cloth so it goes in the laundry room)
Read to Baby

Person B:
Clear table dishes and put food away
Empty/load dishwasher
Wipe down table/island/countertops/stove with kitchen cleaner
Wipe down Baby's high chair
Clean floor from Baby's mess
Fold 1 laundry load, throw in another

We alternate every night, unless there is a special circumstance.  We've been doing it for a few weeks now and it's working out really well.  It's nice to come home in the evenings to a clean kitchen and know that I'll have clean clothes to wear the next day. 

If time, I will still do some deep cleaning (bathrooms, vacuuming, etc.) over the weekends. 


Friday, March 25, 2011

One Year Old Pictures

Baby was scheduled to have her one year old pictures last month.  Then croup struck and we had to reschedule for this month.  We can call them her thirteen month pictures instead.  

I wracked my brain trying to think of cute poses and outfits for Baby to do and wear.  Where should we take them?  What would be memorable and artsy and unique?

I asked everyone I knew.  I Googled one year baby pictures.  I saw some really cool ideas and things to do.  I spent hours going over other babies' pictures and created my own list of possible poses and props.

A popular option was wearing a tutu and pearls.  Well, I don't have a tutu for Baby.  Why would I?  There's really no practical reason and I'm very pragmatic.  Same with the pearls.  I have no pearls.  Scratch the tutu and pearls idea then. 

One that came up most often was the birthday cake or cupcake pose.  I decided Baby HAD to do this.  Naked Baby covered in cupcake and frosting goodness, licking her fingers greedily.  How cute would that be?

Well, the night before I figured I would need cupcakes if I was going to do the pose (the naked part I could handle.  I had a cute cloth diaper I would have her in).  Well, I wanted to do something a little healthier, and I had bananas that were a little over ripe.  Why not bake muffins, then frost those?  They should look like cupcakes in the pictures, right?  I'm so creative!

I baked my muffins.  While they did turn out yummy, they in no way resembled cupcakes.  I didn't even bother frosting them because that would have tasted rather gross.  Would you want a sugary sweet frosted banana muffin? I didn't think so.

I made Husband go to the store and he picked up a few store bought ones.  I cheated, but I wanted to get that picture.

Picture day arrived and our lovely photographer (a super creative friend of mine who did Baby's six month pictures)  came to the house.  We decided to head to the park around the corner to get some good outdoor shots.  Don't worry, I remembered to bring my cupcakes.  

Baby was very unsure of what we were doing.  For the first few shots, I plopped her down in the grass barefoot.  She was wearing a cute peasant type dress with matching bloomers.  She hated the grass on her bare feet and just stood there.  So much for cute barefoot in the park pose.

I put on her dress shoes (which are a tad to small), and she didn't like those very much either.  Again, she just stood there and kept pointing to the play equipment.  We decided to give in and stick her in the baby swings, which she LOVES.  We got a few good shots of her enjoying those.  Same with the slide and stairs.

Another pose I really wanted was one of Husband and I standing, holding on to Baby's hands while she stood in between us.  The shot would feature her and our legs.  We tried it, but she didn't want to hold our hands.  She just wanted to scream and run off.

Then we saw a doggie.  An older Basset Hound and owner were meandering along.  Baby saw him and started pointing and squealing, "Doggie!  Doggie!:  The owner said we could pet the dog, which was really  nice of him.  However, when we got closer, Baby froze up and didn't know what to do.  Scratch the Baby and dog pose.

We then brought out the cupcake.  We sat Baby on the bench, but she didn't want to sit.   We tried to tempt her with the cupcake, but she just wanted to run around.  I ended up eating the cupcake. 

Then it started to sprinkle, so we headed home to try cupcake shots there.

I stripped Baby down and plopped a cupcake in the middle of the floor for her.  She wasn't interested.  She wanted to go back outside (she is an expert at the Baby Sign for "outside").  I think I may have eaten another cupcake trying to get her interested.  I smeared frosting on her tummy.  She ignored me.  Tiger, however, noticed and wanted to know what was going on.  He ended up licking a little frosting off of Baby's tummy.

That was the end of the shoot.  My friend had to go and Baby was pretty much done.

You can bet that after my friend left, Baby suddenly became very interested in the cupcake.  And she was all smiles and giggles.


Needless to say, we didn't get the exact poses that I wanted, but we did get some amazing pictures!   

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Teenagers at the Park

I took Baby to the park tonight, which she loves.  She plays in the bark, she adores going on the swings, the slides, the little airplane shaped thing that shakes; she just loves the park. 

Sometimes there are other people at the park when we go, sometimes not. Today there were teenagers hanging around on the baby equipment.  Three of them, just sitting there. 

As a middle school teacher, I'm not too threatened by teens.  Mostly just annoyed.  I get that they want to be cool and hang out somewhere.  A park is a pretty local, open place where they can assert their teenagerness and claim a territory.  They can scare off all the other people who want to play.  Well, not this mama and baby.

I pretended like they weren't there.  I didn't make eye contact.  I just interacted with Baby like I normally do.   I pushed her on the swings.  I chased after her as she toddled within two feet of the teens.  She noticed them and tried to turn on her Baby charm.  She smiled, but they kept right on with their gossiping.  She was rather confused that they weren't oogling over her, I think.  

The teenage girl who had been sitting right by the slide moved over to the edge of the equipment as we came closer.  I pushed Baby down the slides.  She loved it.  It felt awkward having these teens give me the evil eye, and I really hated the fact that I heard a few curse words, but I wasn't going to back down and leave.  No way was I going to lose this imaginary silent battle over park territory.  Baby and I weren't backing down.

Then it got colder and darker and it was time to go home.

Until next time.  Baby and I will be back.  


Monday, March 21, 2011

Thrice Bitten

Baby is into this thing where she will bite.  Not while nursing (she learned her lesson after I pinched her cheek, I think).  No, she will bite when I pick her up.  She will put her head on my shoulder, then out of nowhere clamp down.  Hard. 

The first time she did it I told her no.

A few seconds later she did it again.  I told her no and put her down where she toddled off.

A short while later I picked her back up and she bit me again.  A third time in the exact same spot!  I said no, put her down, and gently smacked her mouth.  She looked at me, then toddled off to play.

I now have a giant bruise on my right shoulder.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What a Mess

I receive a daily parenting email from Parents.  It give lots of fun little tip on random child-rearing issues. 

I got one recently that talked about the beauty of a mess, and why it is important to let children make messes.  It fosters their creativity and lets them learn how things work. 

Well, I let my child make the hugest messes (at dinnertime especially).  She pulls the tupperware out of the tupperware cabinet and litters them all over the kitchen floor.  She scatters her toys around the living room.  She carries her socks and shoes all over the house and we find half of pairs lying in the hallway.  Bath toys are everywhere. 

When I take a shower in the morning, she plays in the bathroom right outside the shower.  One of her favorite items to play with are maxi pads.  She figured out how to open them and will carry them around the house (I have to scramble to hide them if we have any visitors coming over!). 

She likes to put different things in different places.  I've found her teddy bear in the tupperware and her toothbrush in another cabinet.

Basically, my house has been hit by Hurricane Baby.  Thanks to Parents online I can now say it is educational.    

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One Year Checkup

Baby had her one year checkup this week.  I know, we're an entire month late, but it's close enough.  It was hard to find a time to schedule her in.  Husband ended up taking her because he could get off work early, and I am hoarding all of my leave time for the next time she gets sick (which I'm thinking will be pretty soon.  We've been fairly healthy lately.  I keep waiting for something to surprise us). 

Well, I was actually jealous Husband got to take her this time.  I mean, one year is a huge milestone.  I wanted to write a really neat blog about how impressed the doctor was, how Baby reacted, blah, blah, blah.  Plus, getting any details from Husband is like pulling teeth.  When asked (pestered?) how the appointment was, he told me it was fine.  Then we played the game of twenty questions.

Me:  "What did they say about her height and weight?"

Husband: "Here's the paperwork."

 She is eighteen pounds, twelve ounces.  I thought for sure she would be nineteen or twenty.  I did the whole get on the scale, then pick Baby up and get on the scale, then take the difference thing to figure out her weight at home.  Apparently the doctor scale is a bit more accurate.  Plus, she was naked there.  I wasn't going to stand on the scale with a naked Baby.  She likes to pee.  Anyway, she is in between the fifth and tenth percentile for weight, which is where she was at her last appointment.  

Her height is 28 and a quarter inches.  That dropped her down to between the tenth and twenty-fifth percentile (there aren't actual numbers, just a graph, so I have to estimate).  At her nine month checkup she was almost to the fiftieth.

Her head circumference 45.75 cm.  She jumped from just above the twenty-fifth percentile to above the fiftieth.

In short, I have a little baby with a big head.   

Me:  "What questions did the doctor ask?"

Husband: "I don't remember."

Me:  "Did you talk to her about drinking cow's milk?"

Husband: "Yeah, she said that was fine.  Whole milk just might make her constipated."

Me: "What are we supposed to do about that?"

Husband: "What?"

Me; "' If she get constipated, what do we give her to help her?"

Husband:  "I dunno.  I don't think she said."

Me:  "What about her teeth?"     (She has a couple white spots on her two front teeth.  I googled, and google just said they were created when she was in utero.  Nothing to worry about.  However, google also said they could be a dental concern and might require treatment.  Google needs to make up its mind.)

Husband:  "She said it was nothing to worry about.  And we don't have to start really brushing until she gets her molars.  Oh, can she clap?"

Me:  "Of course she can clap.  Why do you ask?"

Husband: 'That was one of the questions the doctor asked.  I told her she was doing Baby Signs."

Me:  "We just don't clap very often, so she doesn't do it.  Was she impressed with the Baby Signs?"

Husband: "I dunno. She said that counted."

Me:  "Anything else?"

Husband:  "I dunno.  I don't remember."


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Back to my old self...Kinda

I finally did it,  it took me about a year, but I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  That's what the scale says anyway.

The clothes in my closet tell a different story.

While I may have lost the amount in pounds, my body is definitely different.  I still have a flabby belly pooch that refuses to go away.  My chest is still larger (although in the process of shrinking since I'm not nursing/pumping as much), but my rear and thighs shrank.  Thus, I'm now in a smaller pants size than I was before, even though my top half is larger.  Weird.

I was reading that one of the best ways to shed belly weight is running.  I would love to start running/jogging.  Please.  Now would I do that before my child wakes me up in the morning or after she goes to bed at night when it is pitch dark and all the crazies come out? Really, I'd love to know.

And no way am I leaving my child during her waking hours.  I want to spend as much time with her as I possibly can.  The jogging stroller is another option.  I think I need to find a cheap one somewhere if I'm serious.      

In the meantime, I'll keep doing what I'm doing, which is ignoring the issue.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baby Sign Number 6

We did it!  We finished our last Baby Sign Class.  It's kind of a bittersweet moment.

On one hand, we were able to socialize with other parents, we got to do something meaningful as a family, and Baby was able to experience something new and educational.  However, on the other hand, it was such a hassle.  Sunday afternoons seemed like a good idea in the beginning, but there's a reason for the weekend.  When we are working full time all week long, going, going, going, we need our days of rest.  Saturdays were usually spent cleaning or working, so Sunday was our last chance to regroup before starting the week again.

Today's class we were fifteen minutes late.  We were tempted to just skip it all together instead of slinking in late, but since it was the last class, we couldn't do that.

We snuck in and they had just finished going around the circle and updating everyone on what the babies had been up to lately.  We were able to share that Baby is now signing for a bunch of stuff.

For example, just today we were visiting her uncle when Baby went over to a chair in the kitchen and patted it.  We thought she just wanted to be a big girl and sit on the chair, so we put her up there.  Then she patted the table and made the sign for eat.  She was telling us she was hungry!  I got out her snacks and she was a happy camper.  How cool is that?

She is also very adept at signing for "outside."  She absolutely loves to go outside and enjoy nature.  Thus, whenever she is near a door she will sign to go outside.

Among those signs are the sign for "light," "all done," "bath,""comb," "shoes" and I think that might be it.  It's really neat to see her communicate with us.  I was trying to figure out if it's cut down on the screaming that she was starting to do, and I really think it has.

So that's what we shared when we walked in to class.

Class was all about the park today.  There was also a blow up baby pool with a bunch of balls in it, like a makeshift ball pit.  Baby was transfixed by it.  She stared at it for a while.  Then she slowly made her way up to it.  She touched it.  She pushed on it.  Then she climbed in and hung out. 

The other parents had their cameras with them and were taking pictures of their babies at the last class.  Was I supposed to be doing that too? 

I'm so bad at this keeping track of things business.  I kind of regret not taking any pictures now.  It would have been really cute to put in her baby book.  Oh, yeah, the baby book.  That's on my list of things to do. 

 Anyway, back to the sign class. 

We learned the signs for things at the park, like swing, slide, run, ball, and flower.  I think there were more but I really don't remember.    

I appreciate what the class has taught us, but for the next section I'm just going to teach her out of a book.  We'll see how that goes. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

But I really just...

Insert normal household chore here.  Let me give you some ideas to start you off:

Swept the floor.

Vacuumed the carpet.

Wiped off the counters.

Picked up all the toys.

Did the laundry.

Gave my child a bath.

Swiffered the floor.

Changed the baby.   

You know, I used to think people were just telling stories.  When I would go to someone's house and they told me they just _______(fill in the blank), I really didn't believe them.  Unless "just" meant two weeks ago.

Well, they were telling the truth.  No way am I judging anymore (face it, you judge, too).  If they say they just did ___________, "just" could most definitely mean two minutes ago.

Babies work in mysterious ways.  I cleaned our kitchen floor four times yesterday.  Four!  In between each cleaning Baby happened to leave her mark- everywhere!  So I would sweep/swiffer again.  It still looks like a disaster.  Fifth time's the charm, right?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Potty Training?

Usually Baby wakes up nice and happy.  She makes cute little morning squeaks, stretches herself out, and toots a couple of times.  Sometimes we have to wake her up, although more often than not she'll wake up when she hears us moving around (regardless of how quiet we try to be.  She just KNOWS.).

Husband and I have a pretty solid morning routine. I attempt to sleep in as long as possible, then jump in the shower until I hear Husband telling me to hurry up because he will be late.  By this time Baby is usually awake.  If she woke up at the beginning of my shower, Husband would have changed her.  If she woke up toward the end of my shower, then I take her and get her ready while Husband gets ready for his job.  I also get her diaper bag ready for the day, do her hair, get my nursing bag ready, and get my lunch and breakfast together (Husband gets lunch from his work - one of the perks of his job) and Baby gets breakfast at daycare.

Usually when Baby wakes up, she has a super full diaper.  Like, seriously wet.  She doesn't normally do anything other than pee at night.   We don't do night time diaper changes unless she goes number two or wakes up really uncomfortable.  I see no reason to wake her up if I don't need to. 

The other morning Baby woke up and I went to change her and get her ready.  The weirdest thing was that she had a completely dry diaper.  There was no wetness whatsoever.  Like any good mom I freaked out and did a mental checklist of Baby's health. 

Had she eaten enough yesterday?  Yes
Did she have enough to drink with dinner? Yes
Did she nurse before bed the typical amount?  Yes
Does she seem to be in any pain or discomfort?  No

Thus, I decided not to call the doctor, but I would put daycare on alert to make sure she was well hydrated. 

I ended up getting a text later in the day from daycare telling me that Baby finally did her business.  She made up for not going at night by soaking completely through her diaper, pants and onesie, requiring an outfit change. 

M told me that babies sometimes start to hold it at night.  They become more aware of what they are doing and choose whether or not to go.  The fact that Baby is now aware of when she has to go to the bathroom is evidenced by the fact that she hides behind the couch whenever she has to go number two.  It's too funny. 

I'm hoping we can start potty training early, then.  I don't want to wait too long, but I do want to start when she is ready.  If she is aware of what we she is doing, then hopefully it will be easier to train her to go in the toilet. 

Thus, I went out an bought Baby her very own sized potty.  She finds it hilarious.  We will put her on it and make a big deal.  She will laugh and grin and kick her little legs.  However, she doesn't seem to understand that one has to actually do something in the potty.  The closest we got was once when I knew she had to go that I tried to hold her over it.  She got frustrated with me and wanted to stand up.  Needless to say, we ended up with pee all over the floor. 

One of these days we'll get it.  In the meantime, I'm happy that she's happy to just sit on the potty.  Doing something on it will come eventually.  I hope. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Using a Spoon

A lot of parents push for their child to start using utensils early.  They think it's nice to have a child who can feed his or her self without help.

I wasn't that parent.

I am perfectly happy feeding Baby myself.  Or, if she must be independent, she can eat her finger foods.  I have no problem spooning gobs of whatever it is into her mouth while simultaneously making sure I get a few bites of my own food (we eat dinner all together around the table).

However, Baby decided she wants to be a big girl and use the spoon herself.  She sees us doing it, so she wants to as well.  She will grab it from us, usually flinging globs of food everywhere, and aim for her mouth.  Half the time the remaining food (the stuff that didn't get flung under the table or across the room) will fall off the spoon and down Baby's shirt.  Then she will look confused and hand the spoon back so we can get her some more to do it all over again.  It takes longer time, makes more of a mess, and wastes a lot of the food.  Do you see why I didn't want her to learn?

I did find a compromise, though (yes, she's barely one and already we are compromising on things).  I gave her a fork to use.  Gasp!  Yes, a real metal fork with tongs.  When she jabs at stuff on her plate I can guide her and stick the fork in it.  Then she can bring it to her mouth and bite off whatever is on it.  It's brilliant.  None of this losing food because it slid off business.  Food isn't being flung quite as far because most of it has a prong through it.

I know there are concerns out there about safety.  So far she seems to be doing pretty well.  No eyes have been poked out or nostrils impaled.  Maybe next we'll graduate to a spoon.     

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One is the Magic Number

You know how you read the Twilight series all the way through just so you could find out if Bella was ever going to turn into a vampire?  Truly, that's the only reason I kept going.


Well, remember when she did (FINALLY, I might add.  That was dragged out forever!) and she underwent that whole change and her organs all shifted to she could digest blood?  Well, for some reason I kept expecting Baby to undergo some sort of dramatic change when she turned one.


One is a magical number in the parenting land, so I've discovered.  Everything happens when the baby finally turns one.  It's the answer to all of those questions that pediatricians have been plagued with:

When can my baby have cow's milk?  When she's one.

When can she eat honey?  When she's one.

When can she have peanut butter?  When she's one.

What about shellfish?  One.

What about egg yolks?  One   (Or was that egg whites?  I forget. I ignored that one)

Cakes?  One (for the birthday party, of course!).

Do you see now why I was expecting some big change?  Why is she magically allowed to eat all of these things at one?  What was different between eleven months and twelve?  She's still a little human (although sometimes she's a little terror...ahem).

Anyway, I'd rather she be human than vampire.  That would be creepy.   

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Arguing with a One Year Old

Baby knows who Tiger is.  She sees him and calls out his name, "Djiadger!" in her little high-pitched voice.  However, she thinks all cats are Tiger.

The other morning Buttercup decided to come out of hiding, as she sometimes does.  Baby got very excited to see her.

"Djiagder!  Djiadger!"

"No, that's Buttercup," I explained.



"Dji-ag-der!"  She looked pointedly at me with her eyebrows scrunched and her lips pursed in a thin line.  "Djiagder!"


Then Buttercup ran away.