Category Archives: parenting

Happy

The other day I was off from work, so I took the baby to meet Cameron for lunch at Costco and do a little shopping. We perused Christmas toys and she ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the twinkly lights on display. She ate all the samples they were giving out and even convinced me to buy a bag of veggie stick chips after being so interested in them. On the way home we stopped at a playground near the house because it was so beautiful outside. Bean laughed while I pushed her on the swings and played in the sand area and went down the swirly slide all by herself.

And I realized, as I was driving home, that I was happy.

This kind of revelation probably shouldn’t be a surprise, but it was for me. It’s been a difficult year in a lot of ways. Nearly 6 months of unbearable PPD and anxiety that at one time had me terrified to leave my own house, with or without the baby. Trying to adjust to being a new mom among all the other things that life throws you. This summer was tumultuous and honest to God left me wondering if my whole life was about to implode.

So to take a moment and realize that I made it through all of those things and I’m happy now is a bit of a big deal for me. Because pretty much for the better part of a year I’ve been faking it, one way or another. And part of it wasn’t conscious, it was just normal, until I looked back on the situation and wondered how I ever fooled anyone, least of all myself. But it’s better now. I have a job I like and feel confident in. I’m getting closer to finishing my manuscript. Cameron is finally in a job that doesn’t require his attention 24/7. Bean is happy and upbeat and doesn’t need constant attention. Sure my house isn’t always clean, sure we don’t always sit down to a home cooked meal every night. But we’re still enjoying a beautiful life together. And that’s worth everything.

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10 Months

My bitty Bean is 10 months old!
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What a month for the Bean. I feel like she has developed so much in the last few weeks, especially in becoming mobile. She still isn’t crawling, but that doesn’t stop her at all. She gets around! I have to be careful where I leave her because she could get into trouble. She is standing, not quite on her own unsupported, but very close. She knows how to take steps with help and she is starting to pull up on things. (Just while I was writing this, she stood up on her own on the side of a foot stool) Climbing out of the tub seems to be her favorite project right now.

IMG_3946.JPGAside from getting going, she is chattering up a storm. No actual words yet, though we get “dada,” “mama,” and “baba” parroted back at us over and over and over when she feels like it. We sometimes get what we think are “hey/hi” and “wow/woah/oh”. She also hums, shouts, screams, and shrills like a bird at all times. She even whispers “dadoo” whenever you pick her up. As pleasant a baby as she is, she is definitely not shy about telling you when she is unhappy, be it vocally or physically. If she is done drinking her bottle, she will shove it out of her face. If she is done with the attention, she will shove you out of her face. We went through a screaming phase not too long ago, but it seems to have ended now thank goodness…or maybe I should say, it has ended for the time being.

Eating and sleeping have been about the same. We are still trying to get her to hold her own bottle, especially since she’ll be with Papi during the day soon and it would definitely be easier on him if she could drink her own bottle. We’re getting there. Mostly if I hand the bottle to her she wants to investigate it, turn it upside down, shake it, play with the nipple…she definitely knows how it works but for whatever reason just won’t take the final step of lifting it up. We had some success with a bottle that had handles on the bottom, but nothing concrete yet. She still gobbles up just about everything I give her for meals. Her favorites right now are ravioli, mandarin oranges, blueberries, and graham crackers. Oh, and she has four teeth now!

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So, in lieu of another detailed monthly update, I thought I’d do a Day in the Life of A Bean…with approximated times, of course. A girl hates to be predictable.

6:30-7:30ish – wake up. Diaper change, breakfast, playtime, bottle
8:30-9:30ish – nap (mom’s time for an uninterrupted cup of coffee, breakfast, laundry, straighten up, etc)
11ish – wake up. diaper change, get dressed. If we have errands to run this is when I do them. If not, we watch a nature show or go for a walk, go to the park, etc
12:00-1:00ish – Lunch. More playtime/tv
2:00-3:00ish – another bottle, then nap.
4:00-5:00ish – wake up. Dinner.
6:00-6:30ish – evening walk
7:00-8:00 playtime, or sitting outside if the weather is nice, generally just family time
8:00 – bath time
8:30 – get out of the bath, quiet time in her room, bedtime routine. Lotion, pajamas, quiet music, last bottle
9:00 (hopefully) bed time

It’s hard to believe I am within two months of celebrating my little girl’s first birthday! I am thinking owl theme, she seems to love owls. Think that also might be her Halloween costume too. In the meantime, every day I am watching this bright girl learn more , test her boundaries (and mine) and become a little person. It’s so exciting!

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Crafty Mama!

I like crafts. I like making stuff. Lately I have had a little less time than I’d like to make stuff. Go figure. But, I was trolling around Instagram the other day and came across one of those signs you can have made with your baby’s birth stats on them. They seem to be all over sites like Etsy and for a wild second I thought, that would be a cute thing to have. And then my mind came to a screeching halt and I went….wait a minute! I don’t need to pay all that money for one of those! I can make that myself!

So after our early morning walk in Wash Park last week we trucked off down the highway to the nearest Michael’s (since we don’t shop at Hobby Lobby anymore) and picked up supplies for my project. I spent a lot of time wandering up and down the aisles looking at things that the Bean and I will be able to do soon–chalk and crayons and foam letter projects…oh I’m so stoked. I found these crayons that are egg-shaped and meant for toddler hands, so can you say stocking stuffer?! Oh boy.

Anyhoo, we escaped without anything other than what I needed (what a shock) and I got to work. I decided to stencil the whole thing because I am lousy at free-hand, so while it came out looking better it also took forever because I had to let the previous letter dry before I could lay down the next stencil. Anyway, here’s my finished product!

I’m pretty proud of it. I guess I could have done better at centering the lines a little more but whatever. I like it and it’s made by hand by ME! 

In other news, we are getting ready for Bean’s first trip and first airplane ride. We are going to Maine for a week to help settle my grandma’s estate (she passed in February) and send her ashes off to sea. Cameron won’t be able to come because he is about to start a new job, but I’ll be traveling with both my parents which eases my mind a little bit. The flight situation is less than ideal because we fly very early from Denver to Orlando and then to Hartford (yuck) where we’ll be picking up a rental and driving up to Montague, MA to spend a couple nights with my grandma and grandpa before driving the rest of the way to Maine. Luckily, this means we’ll get to see all our family still in Mass and the Bean will get to meet her Nana and her great uncles. I’m excited to go back to my second “home.” My mom grew up there and almost all of her family is still there so we spent a lot of time in the summers there, and I lived there for a year during my freshman year of college. We visited two years ago for an afternoon, but I haven’t been back to Maine in almost 10 years. Can you say…..lobster!!!

We are also super close to crawling. Bean will lean way forward on her legs and rock her butt back and forth and has recently been holding her belly off the floor too, so I know she’s getting close to getting it. Everyone said to put toys just out of her reach to entice her but weirdly I’m having better luck with food. Apparently she, just like her mama, is highly motivated by food.

Bean has been an absolute chatterbox lately and has been very close to “Dada” and “Mama” though I don’t know if she has actual association with them yet or is just repeating what we say. She says “baba” pretty regularly. She has the sweetest voice and I am so happy to hear her talk to me. 

Happenings Around the Bean Pod

Happy Summer!

Well, what have we been up to lately? Seems like a lot! I feel like more often than not the last week or so we have been out of the house more than we’ve been in it!

Family Time

Last weekend my brother got married, so we had some out of town family in for that. We got to spend some time with my grandma Linda and grandpa John, who saw Bean when she was about a day old.

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We took another trip to the aquarium with them, since it was too hot to spend time outside. Bean loved it.

Before the wedding rehearsal luncheon.
At the wedding (it was a renaissance theme)

Baby’s first baseball game

A New Beanmobile

The day we went to the aquarium I found myself crawling over the front passenger seat of my car to wrestle the stroller into the back seat because someone had parked too closely to me in the parking lot and the trunk had the baby’s wagon in it, and I decided then and there that it was time to get a bigger car. (I drive a Honda Accord.) I thought initially that we would trade in my car for something larger, since it still has a lot of value in it and that way we’d still only have one car payment, but when we mentioned this to Cameron’s dad and stepmom, they graciously offered to front us some cash to buy a car outright, then sell Cameron’s car so he would drive the Honda and I would drive the new car. We spent the weekend poking around on Craigslist and looking up car reviews. Finally, frustrated with the fact that nobody online seemed to be willing to respond in a timely manner to my inquiries about buying their cars, I popped onto a used dealership that has locations all over the place and immediately spotted a 2009 Dodge Caliber for an insanely good price considering it only had 63,000 miles on it. We jumped in the car and headed down to Park Meadows to look at it. It’s in practically perfect condition and we really liked it so we signed it that afternoon.

Here’s the catch though…it’s a standard. And can you guess who doesn’t know how to drive a standard? If you guessed ME, you’d be right. So, so far I’ve only driven my new car a couple of times under supervision while Cameron teaches me how to drive it. I think it’s going pretty well all things considered! I may even brave a trip to the store this afternoon. (In hindsight, that’s the reason it was so cheap. But I’m happy we got a good deal on it even if it is a manual.)

Renaissance Festival

‘Tis the season for ren faire! We’ve taken Bean to the festival twice now and she has a ball. I dressed up her wagon to look like a carriage and she is without a doubt the cutest thing that has ever happened to the faire. Nobody even notices me and my parents in our (cough) thousands of dollars worth of garb because everyone is staring at the baby. I guess that’s okay though.

This was right at the end of the day before we left–she was TIRED.

Keeping Cool

The temps lately have been in the high 80s and low 90s which is a bit brutal, so I try to avoid taking the baby outside in the middle of the day if I can help it. We go for our walks either early in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler. In between, we steal free air conditioning at the mall or hang out in the basement and watch tv. I say “watch tv” loosely, because we don’t have cable so really we’re watching dvds or Netflix. And when I say watching dvds or Netflix I mean Disney movies or documentaries. I know screen time is supposed to be discouraged at this age, but I honestly have no problem whatsoever with Disney or documentaries. I’m not plopping her down in front of the tv alone so I can go do something else, we always watch together, and I’m comfortable with her watching these programs rather than cartoons.

IMG_20140629_193702Plus, this way I get to learn stuff too. This week we have been watching “Blue Planet” which is about the oceans. I may have a future marine biologist on my hands.

Sleep

Maybe it’s because we’ve been keeping busy and have been out and about so frequently, maybe it’s because she’s not teething right now, or maybe it’s because she’s just figuring it out finally, but sleep has been great lately. She’s had 3 nights in the last week where she slept straight through the night! If she doesn’t sleep all the way through, she only gets up once, has a small bottle, and falls right back to sleep. It’s been awesome.

 

 

7 Months

Well, I normally use that chalkboard to write what month we are at as well as the date…but the Bean had other plans for it this month. As soon as I set it down in front of her she grabbed it and rubbed all the writing off. Oh well!

We had a lot going on this month with the Bean! She now sits up on her own, eats basically everything I give her, started chewing real food, has 2 teeth now, and has started saying consistent sounds that seem to be actual concerted efforts at words. We’ve even heard what we think might have been attempts at “hi,” “kitty” (though it came out “tikky”), and maybe, possibly, even “daddy.”

I’m happy to say that the un-swaddling effort seems to be going without much of a hitch. When she’s not teething, she sleeps pretty solidly even for nap times. When she is teething, well, that’s a completely different story, but I guess that’s just part of the package.

I try to give her 2 “meals” a day now, as well as snackies in between bottles. I’m not full-on baby-led weaning (I don’t think) but if I see something on our plates that I think she could handle, I give it to her. Tater tots, beans, small bites of frozen yogurt…she eats pretty much anything and everything. This morning she tried orange juice for the first time and she didn’t even bat an eye at the taste. She loves the yogurt bite treats and apple-sweet potato crunchies from Gerber Graduates. In the mornings I try to give her pieces of fruit, strawberries or blueberries, along with some yogurt, and she snarfs it all. She even likes hummus! I’m so thrilled that I appear to have a baby who enjoys food. She still drinks 4 bottles a day plus usually one overnight, but I’ve noticed that with the addition of the solids she doesn’t appear to be as hungry for as much formula as she used to, which is good because that makes it last a little longer. She can sort of feed herself, but usually I put it in her mouth for her just to keep the mess to a minimum. She is still working on the pincer grip but usually she grabs the food with her fist and then tries to shove her fist in her mouth. So, still a work in progress obviously. We are still working on getting her to hold her own bottle too. (Yesterday we left one of her bottles with handles at a restaurant and I’m super annoyed.) She gets the idea but the application isn’t quite there yet.

If you read my last post you recall that I was fighting with her teeth. She popped one a few days after Mother’s Day and I didn’t even notice. Seriously. I happened to peek in her mouth and there it was. The one right next to it was a completely different story, oh lord. That thing sat right under the skin of her gum for weeks. It finally popped about a week ago, or I’m assuming that’s when it happened anyway because the poor thing was up all night screaming her head off. The next day was totally different and the tooth was out. Yay! My mom estimates that the top center teeth are about 2-3 weeks away. Guess I’ll enjoy the tooth-free time while I can.

She loves getting out of the house and hanging out with us. I take her to the park almost daily (though it depends on her nap schedule, if she gets up too late I don’t take her out because it’s just too hot). She can sit in the front part of a shopping cart now which makes my life massively easier in terms of shopping. We’ve gone to the mall, the art museum, a chalk art festival in downtown, a Memorial Day service at the local cemetery, pretty much everywhere we go she is down. She loves hanging in her stroller and is good in the car…usually. Next weekend the Colorado Renaissance Festival opens, and I’m in the process of hunting down a used wagon for her so that I can transform it into a carriage and trundle her around the faire site. (It’s too uphill and bumpy for the stroller and I’m not carrying her all day.)  At least she is ready for the faire!

She loves her kitties. The best way I’ve found to entertain her recently is put two piles of catnip in front of her. The cats come running and she laughs and laughs at them. Sure, the cats are stoned all day long, but it gives me a few minutes to get a couple things done while she is entertained. On that note, she really is pretty independent and definitely doesn’t require my attention all the time, which I’m grateful for. Now that she can sit up, I can put her on the floor or in her playpen with her toys all around her and she will entertain herself for a while. In her bath, as long as she has her wind-up toys, she will stay quiet for twenty minutes while she tries to figure it out. She is curious and loves to explore and observe. She is obviously a hands-on learner and loves new textures and sounds. Anything that rattles or crinkles has her full attention, so tins with snacks in them and pieces of paper are super handy. She sits in the grass feeling it with her toes which is super adorable. I’m going to be making up some sensory play toys soon because she really likes feeling different things. She loves music too, and she bangs away all day on her little piano and her guitar.

She isn’t too interested in trying to crawl yet, and still usually gets pretty annoyed when I put her on her belly if it isn’t to sleep. On the one hand I’m okay with this because I have a lot of baby proofing to do when it finally happens and I haven’t figured that out yet, but on the other hand I start worrying she’s falling behind when in 1 outing 3 strangers in a store ask me if she’s crawling yet. I know every baby is different and some don’t crawl at all, it’s just one of those paranoid mommy things I guess.

One thing everybody does comment on, however, is how happy she is. And it’s true! I have one happy baby. She smiles and laughs at just about everything now and generally is just one easy-going gal. I feel like if she were an adult, she’d be that friend of yours who is down for anything at anytime because really, she’s just happy to be here.

An Open Letter to My Daughter’s Teeth (And to My Cat)

Sorry for the mildly R-rated post but I’m having a day.

Letter #1: To my daughter’s teeth:

Look, I know we all have a job to do. I know you’re going to come in handy soon and that you’re roaring to come into the world and be useful. That’s nice. Very considerate of you. I get it.

But let’s be real here for a second.

Teeth, if you were a person, I’d kill you. Straight up. I would throw you down a flight of very steep concrete stairs and beat you with a hammer until you died from blunt force trauma and blood loss.

So here’s the deal. Quit dicking around and just come the fuck out of my daughter’s gum. I have been waiting for you to erupt for 2 fucking weeks. I can see you there, waiting, just being an asshole chilling there while in the meantime she is spending half her days screaming in discomfort. You know who you are. You’re the bottom center tooth on the right and you’re a little shithead. Be a good tooth like your neighbor and just come out already.

Seriously.

At least the swings make her happy.

Letter #2: To my cat:

Whiskey, if you shit one more time on my floor I’m going to lock you on the patio, open the gate, and hope that a coyote eats you.

Phew. It’s a good thing a friend wants to meet for dinner tonight because–just in case you couldn’t tell–I need a drink.

Joining the Ranks of the Unswaddled

….why yes, that is an attempt at a lame Game of Thrones pun. You know, in case you were wondering.

So, we decided that the time had finally come to get the Bean to sleep without her blanket. Since birth she has been one of those babies who really prefers to be wrapped up tight to sleep. Since she has also been a belly sleeper since about 10 weeks or so, I knew it wasn’t safe to put her in her velcro swaddle, so we’ve been wrapping her in an afghan, which I figured was a safe compromise. She could still be on her belly to sleep, was feeling tight and secure, but still had enough wiggle room to remove and arm and roll over, and if she did, there were enough holes in the blanket that it wouldn’t suffocate her. This worked for a long time…until it didn’t.

All things considered I should have started this process a while ago. For the last month or so she has been rolling over and getting out of the blanket numerous times a night, causing her to wake and cry until I came in and wrapped her back up. In the last few weeks she has been putting up more of a fight than normal in getting into her blankie at night, and that, coupled with an uncannily-timed newsletter from The Incredible Infant about the dangers of wrapping once baby can roll over, told me it was time.

She was more ready for it than I was, to tell the truth. I got comfortable in our routine and I knew that pretty much no matter what, that blanket would put her to sleep. So I kept putting it off, because I was worried about the transition. Usually about once a month we attempted to put her to sleep in a wearable blanket instead of a wrapped one, and she would just lie there propped up on her arms looking around and rolling over instead of sleeping. Or her arm movements would wake her. So maybe those early attempts were just too early. But the other night, she started thrashing and screaming when I tried to put her in her blanket before bed, so I thought, all right, tonight’s the night. I fed her her last bottle and laid her in her crib without a blanket. She fussed for a couple of minutes, but after one or two binkie replacements, she went to sleep. She woke once at 1:30, I put her binkie back in, and the next thing I knew it was 6:30. It was the most solid night she had slept in a really long time. Last night, she conked out and didn’t make a peep until 4:30. I had decided that I would start letting her wean herself off the night bottle, at the recommendation of her pediatrician. If she really wants one, she can have it, but if she goes back to sleep on her own, let her go without. So she needed one last night, but after that she went back to sleep until 7:30.

Naps have still been a little wobbly on our new plan, mostly I think because at night she is sufficiently exhausted and pretty much falls asleep right away, whereas during nap time she is tired but not really tired, and it takes a little longer to coax her into falling asleep. But, I’m happy to say she has been soothing herself to sleep for the most part and we haven’t even had to let her cry for much longer than a minute or two. So, not to jinx myself, but I feel like it’s going pretty well.

Speaking of naps, I don’t know why this excited me but yesterday we went to Thorntonfest with my parents, which is a community festival in my hometown with people selling crafts and artisans and local businesses selling stuff, it’s a fun time. (That’s not really the part that excited me, by the way.) I had never taken the Bean to anything like that before and I wasn’t sure how she would take to being out and about for several hours outside with lots of noise, but when she started to fuss a bit we reclined her stroller seat and she passed out for a good 45 minutes while we walked around. (That’s the part that excited me. You can tell my life is really thrilling because I get excited about naps.)

After that she was content to kick back and let us stroll her around like she owned the place. What a kid I have.