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Posts Tagged ‘babyhood’

You are 19 months old.

You have somehow learned that this symbol means “trash”:

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You have been collecting new words: nice, trash (which was “dash” and is now “tash”), Elmo (much to Mama’s chagrin), go, pop, boom, help, pee, beep, please, eat, on, in, baby. Not that these words sound exactly like they’re supposed to

You now eat bananas like a normal person (previously Mama fed them to you on a spoon because you either refused to touch them, or smushed them and then complained about your banana-covered hands).

You adore your Daddy more and more as time goes on, running to see if he’s home after every nap and sticking as close as possible to him when he’s home. If you see a picture with a man and a baby, you call the man Daddy.

You occasionally get into a temper, usually when you’re tired. And it’s not really a temper so much as a very pathetic display of tears and sadness over a profound disappointment such as the kitchen gate being closed when you’d prefer to roam the entire first floor.

You sometimes take Mama by the hand to lead her to an activity you’d Iike her to participate in. Usually it involves a book. With kittens. Because…

You love, love, love kittens. Love them. When you see a dog you make your kitten noise. So it’s really cool for you that Grammie bought you a book that actually meows.

You enjoy play dates for the most part, though you tend to hang back a bit and remain puzzled by the concept of sharing.

You have become adept at going though play tunnels.

You love to “help” Mama sweep.

You will sometimes stamp your foot if you’re not getting something you want. We have absolutely no idea where you learned this charming little behavior. Seriously. Mama hasn’t stamped her foot since she was enduring the third fitting for her wedding dress.

You eschew all vegetables except carrots, sweet potatoes and the stems of broccoli.

You know what toilets are for, and you ask Mama if she needs to “bee” every time you see one. If she does, you enjoy getting paper for her, and you try to flush it while she’s still doing her business.

You can go up and down the steps of the jungle gym all by yourself. You can also get into and out of your little chair by yourself. You tend to throw your arms in the air and squeal whenever you get out of the chair successfully. Mama may have taught you that part.

You love to put on one of Mama’s or Daddy’s shoes and clomp around in it.

You said “no!” when you saw the needle for your flu shot, but you didn’t even cry afterwards.

You are 19 months old, and you are edging gently into Toddlerville.

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One of Baboo’s clearest and most frequent words is No. This has sparked an ongoing debate in our house: Does he say it so much and so well because we say it to him so often, or is he merely learning to use language to assert his will?

I’m in the latter camp, because he uses it to get to “yes,” for example, telling me which book he wants to read by rejecting all the ones he doesn’t want. He does know the word “yes,” by the way. He just doesn’t always choose to use it. It’s baffling, and we’re saying “yes” to him more often now, but still, his default is “no.”

He also uses No to double-check that something he’s been told not to do is still off-limits. It’s really cute, actually: He’ll caress the trash can while pouring his soul out through his eyes and mournfully uttering a soft “No?”

Meanwhile, the aforementioned debate has created an awareness in my disciplinary language that I like, spawning a litany of phrases that mean No. These tend to be either strings of nonsense sounds like “ah-ah-ah-ah-ah,” or a positive casting of a negative request, like, “That’s Mama’s cup” instead of “Don’t touch that.” I have to admit to feeling a little funny about the latter approach because I have been known to mercilessly mock those who avoid saying No to their kids at all costs.

I’m not taking it that far, though — just reserving No for dangerous things like the oven and outlets (or when it just pops out of my mouth). Pretty much everything else I might use a No for falls into the category of limit-setting, and distraction tactics are often more effective for that. My favorite so far is “Where’s your baby?” closely followed by “Would you like this cup/spoon/yogurt tub?”

And then of course there are situations where neither a No nor distraction works. The best example is Baboo’s favorite new trick: Kicking like mad on the changing table. If I say No, he says it right back to me and goes back to kicking. My Stern Mama Face has zero effect. And he thinks it’s so fun that distracting him from it is nigh impossible. So now I’m trying a technique I used with my dogs: ignore the behavior you don’t want.

I’ll let you know how that works out.

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“Could be his molars coming in.”

With that simple sentence, I lost a bit of love for our pediatrician, which is okay because I have enough love for him that losing a bit is tolerable.

The baby had been waking up for a few nights running, and since he had an ear infection the last time that happened, we were there to rule out that possibility. With it ruled out, I was left with no simple answer to this maddening new trend in my baby’s behavior.

As the days went on, he did it over and over, waking between 2 and 4:30, upset but easily calmed, sometimes soaked through, sometimes dry. One night, for extra fun, he woke up an hour after the first time, just as I was drifting back to sleep.

Naturally I turned to the Internet and books for possible reasons. None of them seemed fun:

– Molars. Two-year molars coming in seven months early, could take a few months to fully erupt. Neato.

– Separation anxiety. Really? I’m with him ALL THE TIME.

– Overtiredness. The more tired you are, the worse you sleep. The worse you sleep, the more tired you are. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

– Night terrors. He’s a little young for this, but one of the hallmarks of this lovely phenomenon is a freaked-out kid who suddenly calms down and passes out again, which is pretty much what he was doing. He also paused during a crying jag to chirp, “hi!”

– 18-month sleep regression. This is where the kid starts waking up at night for no apparent reason, and you get to decide how to deal with it. Regardless of your course of action, you still end up with a tired baby and shredded sleep.

– Just a fun new limit-testing behavior. Because making Mommy get out of bed is fun!

– Full moon.

Go ahead and laugh at that last one. He stopped his wee-hours wakings the night after the full moon.

Apparently I’m raising a werewolf.

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You are 17 months old.

You have a new toy:

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You somehow know that the sound of an almost-empty ketchup bottle “farting” is funny.

You say “brr” when something is cold.

You had your first skinned knee last week.

You will sometimes put your hands on your hips and stick your belly out and look at Mama and start laughing.

You dip one index finger ever so daintily in something you want to taste and then bring it slowly up to your mouth. Your Grammie taught you this.

You’ve been doing this for a while, but: You will take someone’s hand and move it to indicate what you want them to do.

You’ve been introduced to a baby pool, and you’re getting along famously. But so far you mostly like to play with the hose (and drink from it).

You shake your head “no” to book after book when it’s time to read before a nap or bedtime. This is why there are messy stacks of books on the ottoman in your room, and a few on the floor.

You have absolutely zero fear of the garbage truck.

Your favorite kitchen toys at the moment are a tiny Tupperware container and a springform pan, but you still have great affection for the strainers.

You speed to the dishwasher to help Mama unload it, and you’re tall enough to reach things on the top rack.

You find the vacuum cleaner to be highly amusing and are desperate to touch it when it’s on.

You are more of a parrot every day, and this is why your next word may be “sugar.”

You spent 20 minutes playing with an empty 2-liter soda bottle the other day.

You’ve tried to go to sleep standing up a couple of times, once when Grammie was taking care of you. Boy, was she confused!

You can go down the stairs by sliding on your belly (feet first).

You have discovered slides, and giggle the best possible giggle when going down them. Then you try to climb back up them.

You can step up a small step if you’re holding Mama’s hand.

You still have no interest in ice cream or cake.

You are all about graham crackers.

You are not all about using a spoon, preferring instead to dip the wrong end in your yogurt.

You are 17 months old, and you seem to be teething again which is just ridiculous but whatever, we’ll work with it…

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Once I started writing a list of baby gear must-haves (here and here) I started thinking about all the stuff we didn’t use and lo, another blog post was conceived.

– Burp cloths. They’re not big enough if your kid is a serious spitter like ours was. Dish towels and cloth diapers were far more useful. Get about a dozen if your baby shows signs of being a puker.

– Receiving blankets. I still don’t understand what they’re for. They’re not really big enough to swaddle with, and you’ll have tons of cute blankets to drape over the kid. Get a 3-pack if you must, and then let me know if you used them, and what for.

– Bath thermometer. That’s what your hand is for. Though those ducks that say “hot” on the bottom if the water is scalding are awfully cute.

– Noisy toys. You know the ones. Lots of screechy songs and buttons and whatnot. Old-school teachers call them “busy boxes.” We have a coulple, and I suppose you can argue that they teach the kid cause and effect and build fine motor skills. But for the most part the way the baby plays with them is pretty mindless, as far as I can tell. Also, they are invariably loud, which pisses me off, because I kind of like the fact that my baby can hear, thanks. Caveat: A handheld “educational” toy can be great for keeping a baby happy in the car. This is why an Elmo counting and colors monstrosity lives in the backseat of my car.

– Microwave sterilizer. While we did use this for a while, our pediatrician told us it wasn’t necessary unless we were using well water or had a preemie.

– Baby grooming set. The comb was sharp, the bulb syringe was useless (they give you a good one in the hospital anyway) and everything else was poor quality. Just get a good pair of baby nail clippers (or scissors) and an adult comb that’s not pokey.

– Pacifiers. They give you the best ones in the hospital (Soothies — ask for extras), and many (including me) say you’re better off ditching them by the 6-month mark.

– Baby journal. We have a really beautiful one with a sweet little bunny on the front. Every two or three months I pull it out, marvel that I’m supposed to print photos to go in it, and put it back in the closet. Disclaimer: If you’re a Project Person, you will love it.

– Wipe warmer. Seriously? Warm them in your hands or armpits if you think the baby can’t deal with a split second of chilliness.

– Footie PJs with snaps. Trust me: At 3 a.m., in the semi-dark (because you don’t want to wake the baby any more than necessary), snap-closure PJs become a Rubik’s Cube made out of fabric With a greased weasel inside. Zippers, my friends. Zippers.

I’m sure there are more I’ll think of as soon as I post this…

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Well, naturally as soon as I put up my baby basics post I began to think of things I’d forgotten… And so here we go again:

– Play mat: This is for further down the line, and more for the folks with hardwood floors, but they provide a space of the kid’s own as well as cushioning when they’re first rolling around. This one is fun, and free of the nasty stuff some of them have.

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– Batteries: Ds and AAAs. Lots of them. Because not having them when a favorite toy or God forbid the swing runs out of juice when that’s all the baby wants is not a fun scene.

– Sunscreen: You need it from day one, basically. Didn’t know that until one of our early pediatrician visits. And don’t think that your baby doesn’t need it because of their lovely caramel or olive skin. That’s a big ole myth.

– “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp: Another excellent, compassionate, sensible book about how to soothe a fussy tot. The basis of his methods is the idea of the “fourth trimester,” i.e., the baby’s first three months of life, during which some of them need a lot of help adjusting to life outside the womb.

– Infant massage: Find a class or watch some videos. This is a wonderful way for both mom and dad to connect with a newborn, and it’s quite soothing for all of you.

– Hand sanitizer: Because there will be times when washing your hands is too much of a hassle. Trust me. Get two or three dispensers and a super-mongo one to refill them from. Keep one near the front door for visitors (and yourself — it’s always a good idea to clean your hands when you come home). If you think I’m being alarmist consider that newborns (3 months and under) who spike a fever get an automatic hospital stay.

– Cart cover. Because there is no way to wipe all the surfaces your baby will touch, and suck, and you have no idea how disgusting or sick the last person to use the cart was. Also, carts are hard, and babies are soft — why not make it a little cozier for them? This article explains various features and reviews popular models.

– Baby hangers. Even if you’re having a boy, you’ll want to hang some stuff, and many store hangers are flimsy. Also: Cute! And handy for air-drying certain items.

– Speaking of hangers: If the nursery is dinky and the closet is of a reasonable size, look into having it customized. You will quickly find that you need to maximize all available space to store your baby’s accoutrements.

– Bibs. Long before you need them for mealtimes, you’ll need them for both drool and spit up. If your baby is like mine, you’ll need a couple dozen if you don’t want to do laundry twice a day. Get snap ones, not Velcro ones (it quickly becomes useless). Terry cloth ones are cool, but the waterproof ones are better. Carter’s makes nice durable ones.

– Socks. Many of them are useless for tiny, wiggly feet, but they make great hand-hiders. See, your kid’s hands will ATTACK and TERRIFY him or her! And you will be too scared of trimming those itty bitty nails to keep them from scratching the bejesus out of that sweet little mug. Bonus: They’re perfect infant mittens.

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Recently a mom-to-be asked for my opinion on baby gear must-haves, so without listing the obvious (crib, stroller, car seat) and without further ado…

GEAR

– This is a double-edged sword, but: A video monitor will both ease your mind and make you stare at a tiny screen for hours because sleeping babies are CUTE! We have one from Summer Infant, and a backup one for travel (and just in case) from Levana. The resolution on the Summer Infant one is better, but the other one shows the temperature in the room and acts as an intercom, nightlight and lullaby player. And now some feed the image to your phone.
Because there are so many, with varying features, I’ve found a review of the top picks for you.

– A Pack-n-Play with a bassinet attachment or inset; we have a pretty standard Graco one. Some people use it in lieu of a bone fide crib, and it works well as a travel crib. It’s also a great place to park a kid when you need to brush your teeth/take a 3-minute shower/breathe for a few minutes (I still use it this way). Baboo slept in his until he was 4.5 months old, when he started sleeping in…

– A swing. It’s somewhere safe and happy for the baby to hang out, and if they have trouble sleeping, it helps immensely because it makes it earlier for them to handle the transitions between sleep cycles. Baboo slept in his for a few months. Look for one that folds easily so it won’t be a pain to move or store.

– A floor gym is great as a place to park very young babies and is designed to make tummy time more fun. ‘Cause heads up: Most babies hate tummy time.

This version of a Boppy pillow is a nice cozy place to park newborns, and our boy loved to sleep in it.

– An umbrella stroller is great if your primary stroller is a tank like ours. Much easier to travel with, maneuver in stores, and pop in and out of the trunk.

– A white noise machine will mask household sounds and approximate the soothing sounds of the womb. Ours has six sound loops, lets you hook up an iPod if you want your own music, and has a nightlight, which is handy for nighttime changes and feedings (low light means baby stays mellow and goes back to sleep quickly).

– An infant carrier like Baby Bjorn or Moby. Great for walks as well as soothing a fussy wee one by carrying him. Go look at them before picking one — we had a Bjorn and it was kind of complicated to use, and could only be worn on your front. And still, I used the crap out of that thing.

ENTERTAINMENT

Sophie. She’s cute, babies love to gnaw on her, and she makes a great squeak (which you’ll want to disable if you have dogs).

– Books:

    For you

, The Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg is a really sensible approach to dealing with babies and their sleep issues. Baby 411 is comprehensive, reassuring, and crammed with common sense. We called it our Bible in the early days.

    For the wee one

: Classic baby books like Pat the Bunny, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Goodnight Moon are classics for a reason. Buy them or ask for a baby book shower. This finger puppet book is engaging for very young babies (we started with it at 6 or 8 weeks). Locally, the Missouri Botanical Garden carries the whole series; we have Little Fish and Little Bee.

– A lovey, meaning a small stuffed animal without stuff the baby can pull off and eat. I believe the professional term is “transitional object.” You’ll want this when the baby turns six months old and can safely sleep with one. We have this bear, and we bought a backup in case of loss, and so we can wash one when the other becomes too drooly or soiled.

– A projection mobile. Ours has a detachable canopy, and the baby still mellows out to the light show on the ceiling as he falls asleep — and chills out to it when he wakes up.

– A low-tech mobile to hang above the changing table. It was amazing to see how early Baboo noticed it, and he still loves it.

– A small lamp with a 4-watt incandescent bulb. (Dimly lit 3 a.m. feedings tend to help the baby go back to sleep faster and easier.) A standard nightlight would work, or you can look for something cute to make things more fun for you.

– A bottle warmer. My older brother insisted we needed one, and when we suddenly had to start the kid on formula at a few weeks old, it beat the hell out of running downstairs to microwave water to warm the bottle while the baby was screaming.

CLOTHING

– Either kimono-style shirts or long-sleeve Onesies, about six, in each of several sizes (meaning six in Newborn, six in 3 Months, etc.). People will give you all kinds of cute clothes, but the basics are what my kid lived in most of the time.

– A couple of idiot-proof swaddlers like this one (receiving blankets never stay tight enough).

– At least three zip-front sleeper PJs (snaps become unbelievably complicated at 2 a.m.). Again, worth getting in several sizes. Babies can grow fast.

– Dreft, for washing all those adorable clothes and blankets for the first few months.

DIAPER STUFF

– A Diaper Genie, duh, and at least three refills.

– Several kinds of diaper cream (you and the baby will have your preferences), tons of wipes, and more diapers than you think you need. (Running out to the store all the time will suck for a few months.) You can set up regular deliveries of these and other baby staples through Amazon Mom if you can stomach their labor policies.

– A contour changing pad, so you can set up a remote changing station. This was a life-saver when I had an unexpected C-section and had to restrict my stair-climbing. Changing the baby’s diaper was one of the few things I could do, and was actually, weirdly, a nice way to connect with him. We kept a bin of changing supplies in the living room, and he slept on the changing pad in the very early days. Don’t forget to get a few covers for it (though bath towels work just as well).

MISCELLANEOUS

– Housecleaning services. I wished I’d had someone handling this for the first six months.

– Blackout curtains for the nursery and your bedroom. You will need to sleep during the day and so will the baby. Target has cheap ones in a variety of sizes. At the very least, get a good sleep mask for yourself, and earplugs so you can really disconnect and rest when someone else is on duty.

– Pacifier tethers. First for pacifiers, then for clipping little toys to the baby, the stroller, the carseat….

– A good pair of rubber gloves, for washing bottles in scalding-hot water.

– Aquaphor or Neutrogena Hand Cream for your hands (you’ll be washing them after every diaper change, and you’ll be doing that roughly eight times a day…).

– Infant Tylenol and Ibuprofen. (Running to the store when the kid is sick will suck.)

– Nail clippers and an instant-read thermometer (not the in-ear kind, which is not as accurate).

– Unscented or all-natural baby wash, shampoo and lotion or oil. Weleda makes a great calendula oil that I love for baby massages, and the Aveeno line of eczema products is great. For bubble baths, the California Baby line is really nice, too.

– Snacks. You might be too tired to eat a meal, but a granola bar? No problem!

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