Parent Hacks

Just found this web site – thanks to Martinimade:

Parent Hacks:

Cool tricks/thoughts from and for real parents. I was prety happy with “fingerpaint in the bathtub” – and in gerneral it seems an upbeat site, good for a laugh now and then.


To PBJ or not to PBJ


So – what are folks recommendations on peanuts/peanut butter?

My books say not until 2 years old or older – may trigger peanut allergies.

Her doctor says, after a year, it is up to you – the jury is still out.

As a vegetarian, I’d like to offer PB.

Daycare is happily feeding peanut butter to all the other 1 year olds, except the ONE with a known Peanut allergy.

None of us have ever had a peanut allergy.  We LOVE peanuts.

One year update on MOM

A friend suggested I post a one-year refelctive piece on being a mom.  here, in no particular order, are my thoughts:

My NUMBER ONE observation: At any and every point in the day that you no longer have a child attached to you – take the opportunity to go to the bathroom.  You never know how long it will be until the next opportunity – so take this one NOW – even if you don’t think you need it. Really.  It is MORE important that sleep or food.  Others can feed you, and you can sleep, while you hold the child.  No one can pee for you, and holding a child while on the toilet is… possible, but NOT my first, or second, or third choice.

Do NOT feel guilty for sitting around doing nothing.  I’ll bet the amount of time that I “do nothing” (watch mindless TV, read a book, stare at my navel) is about 10% of what it used to be.  I strongly feel that “doing nothing” is critical to a human being’s sanity.  Stay Sane.  Take “do nothing” breaks. (See my note on health below.)

Take time to cuddle the OTHER loved ones in your life.  I admit to doing poorly at this – I REALLY need to take more personal one-on-one time for my husbands.  I *know* I’m getting some of my needs met by cuddling WCB.  This should NOT be costing my husbands cuddle time as well.  Now the fact that none of us have as much free time – well we’re just going to have to cope with that..

Extra work: WCB hasn’t really had a significant effect on the laundry, in my opinion. But BOY has she increased the dishes!  Bother DaddyN and I prefer to wash her bottles by hand – having suspicions of the residue left by our washing machine. But as she is branching out into baby food and solid food, spoons and bowls and covered plates (for daycare) are starting to really fill up the dishwasher. Plus, in an effort to save $ and make sure mom eats, we are creating and eating a lot of leftovers – increasing the storage containers in the dishwasher. Compartatively, WCB has added one extra washload a week, plus a couple of things added to all other loads. oh, and she has JUST started to make real messes on the floor under her high chair.

What new moms/families need is TIME.  What I am using extra cash for now is buying TIME – babysitting.  I need the new doors painted, the lawn mowed, my kitchen cleaned, my paperwork sorted and filed, my cabinets child-proofed, my cupboards re-arranged…etc. And it costs LESS to pay a babysitter than it does to pay someone to do the other work for me (if they can). I kid you not – I can get baby sitting done for $8-10/hour, and mow my own lawn in 4 hours – $40.  Getting someone else to mow my lawn?  over $100.  Oh sure – one of us can watch her while the other mows the lawn – but that means LESS house/lawn work gets done. A babysitter means ALL of us can get stuff done *at the same time.*  We don’t pay someone so we can go to the movies together- we can get Grandma to watch her for that long – we pay for someone to watch WCB while we CLEAN HOUSE for 5 hours.

Your health is critical.  Do EVERYTHING you can to stay healthy and in one piece.  When Daddy-O hurt his foot, and was told “keep it elevated when possible, keep off it for 6 weeks,” we found that he was almost useless as a caretaker for WCB.  he could not be left alone with her because he couldn’t catch her without the high probability of re-injuring his foot. When Daddy N and I both had awful crippling food poisoning for 3 days, and I was breastfeeding, my biggest fear was that I couldn’t take care of WCB (we did have breastfeeding issues – nothing in there!). I tripped over an ottoman yesterday and Uncle Lamont said, “YOU have a one year old child – don’t you DARE break your leg.” Just becasue I’m not pregnant and have stopped breastfeeding doesn’t mean I can stop doing all those important healthy things.

If you have nothing pressing, enjoy your child (and you really don’t have anything very pressing).  We were unloading out of the car the other day and WCB stopped to investigate the pea gravel in the drive.  I tried to get ther to go into the house – I was eager to start on  our after school (daycare) routine: go in, climb stairs, greet dad, mom changes clothes, WCB removes shoes, play/relax and eventually eat dinner – but she resisted going in.  I tugged again, she sat down on the gravel.  Arms full of stuff to go in the house, I stopped and thought a moment.  In truth, despite my anxiety to move on to the next thing on our list, I had nothing pressing. If WCB wanted to learn about rocks – we could learn about rocks. Down the stuff went, and mom too sat on the gravel. WCB learned that you could dump gravel out of your hands, pile it on your feet, throw it at mom (NO), eat it (NO), squash it with bigger rocks, that it had different shapes and colors, and that it was called “rock” (“rock, rock, yes that’s a rock, thank you for the rock, may I have a rock?, NO, don’t throw rocks…”) My job is to “bring up” a child.  That can happen anywhere, anytime, anyhow.  Every moment is a teachable moment – enjoy them as much as you can.

She is, regularly, a total wonder.  The concept that I created this very independant, intelligent, magical being is just fantastical.  She is so much her own person, at just one year of age, it seems unimaginable that we “created” her.  I feel more that we invited her – that she used to be somewhere else, and now she is here.  Our joy, our responsibility, our stress, our love.  Whew. My mind just reels.

All in all, I think I’m doing OK as a mom.  She is healthy, she’s growning, she’s learning, and she laughs a lot.   Others describe her as a cheery child. Despite our continuing sleep sagas,  eating traumas, and reluctance to wean from the bottle to cup, we’re doing pretty OK.  I’ve bought some new clothes, I’ve dyed my hair, I’ve taken some time for myself  – I’m doing OK.

Check with me in another year – at 2 I might have different news.  😉

Milestones – 1 year, 2 weeks

WCB had her 12 month check up at the DR yesterday.  Here’s the update:

22 lbs, 30 inches, with a head circumference of 18.5″  This puts her, respectively in the 60th, 75th, and 90th percentiles for a girl.

Dr had clear evidence that her lungs were JUST FINE (she didn’t like being mauled about by a stranger, getting shots or having her finger stuck for a hemoglobin test).  So was everything else.

While we were at the DR, she made a funny sound in her mouth – thinking there was something in there, I poked about and found… A MOLAR…we’ve been waiting for it/them, and I hadn’t checked in the alst few days and there it was several points sicking out of her lower left gum.  I suspect the other side to show up any day the way she has been chewing.

We are currently fascinated with the permutations of in – what fits in other things and how to get things out of other things. And we have a great deal of respect for the Kitty – who occasionally wants to play with her toys.  WCB actually sneaks up when he is not looking and steals her toys back.  Smart baby. A couple of nips, a scratch on her nose and a couple of scratches on her wrist were all it took.

Lastly, she has thoroughly grasped the hand sign for eat.  Yea!  Not so hot, however, on the difference between “eat” and “bottle/drink.” Oh and the word “No” is becoming clearer, as is “AH – dah” for all done, and “Meh Meh” for mom.

Another set of shots at 15 months and then NO MORE until 4-5 years old. YEA!

I’m MUCH squishier now

Assuming squishier is a word….

I like the 1st two paragraphs of this post from Her Bad Mother, especially this excerpt:

I carry my heart around outside my body now […] and because of that I am vulnerable in ways that I never thought possible.”

There are now television shows I can’t watch, magazine ads that make me cry, and simply ideas that make my stomach clench.  I have always been something of a softy – crying at ‘chick flicks’ and Christmas Coke ads, but man – now I’m crying at Law and Order SVU – assuming it’s an episode I can watch at ALL.

I used to work for child protective services, and I would marvel at the things mothers would allow or overlook when others mistreated their child (not to mention my mind boggling at what they themselves would DO or NOT DO).  I’m afraid this lack of understanding has not improved with being a mother.  Abusive clients used to ask me all the time, “Do you have a child?” and when I said no – then they would say, “Then you can’t understand.”
OK, I have a child now.  And I still don’t understand how you could allow others, even your beloved spouse, to sexually abuse your child, or beat your child until bruises show.  Nope.  Still don’t get it.
Like Rose, I am a mamma bear.  If you threaten my child, I am all about being protective. Even the thought of losing WCB makes me cry. 

Conversely, I have found myself the LEAST protective of the three parents regarding life’s little accidents.  I’m the one who allows her to learn that trying to get off the big bed is a bigger fall than the little bed in her room.  I’m the one who let’s her fall when stepping off the last step and then picks her up for a cuddle.  And I’m not doing this deliberately – it seems to be an innate feeling that she has to live through these small catastophes in order to learn a sense of self-preservation.

Ooooooo but ask me how I felt when I over-heated her food and burned her tongue because I forgot to test it.  Baaaaaad mommy, hang your head in shame.  I note, however, that both she and I now test that first spoonful before eating – every time.

So squishy with hard bits – not unlike an Almond Joy.  mmmmmmm.



E-mail Spam turns out GREAT!

Like me, you probably get a LOT of e-mail spam.  Like me, you probably have spam filters that catch much of it, but some still gets through – banks, sex, “enhancement,” and, lately, “buy our baby stuff.”  Like me you probably spend a lot of time deleting spam.

So today, I got this spam e-mail, [picture supressed] “You are invited to participate in…”  Oh, man, I say, more spam. but then I read on, “…Just one more Book!! a free online audio program (podcast) that promotes and celebrates literacy and great children’s books — without advertising or sponsorship of any kind.”  Yeah, right, I’ll just hit dele…

Wait.  I LOVE children’s books.  WCB gets 6-8 stories before bed every night.  And random stories throughout the day.  If these guys are for real, I might really be missing a good thing.  I waffled.  Then I clicked the link.  I was cynical.  I cruised the web page.  I read the About page.  I listened to a 5 min podcast on “I’m not cute.”  Ok, I said – these folks look legit. And WAY COOL.

I spent 30 mins out of my day checking out children’s books online – some off of their web site, some jumping off from other sites, some – just because they are my favorites.  So – some spam is GOOD.

I’ve linked to them over on the right, and I’ve subscribed to their rss feed.  I may not listen to everything, but I want a regular reminder to take a moment and frolic in the world of children’s literature.

(OK – more moments than I already have – every day.  perhaps what I want is to frolic in the world of children’s literature I haven’t read 30 times already.)

After long pause – a BIRTHDAY!

Happy birthday WCB! You are now officially ONE!  Walking, climbing, babbling, reasoning, protesting – it is ALL about you!

 Development update on Communication – we have a lot more verbalization, and a lot more use of gestures. We have been, somewhat inconsistantly, trying to teach her baby sign and we are finally seeing her attempt to make signs in return!  WCB has the following vocabulary:

·         “Uh-oh” – I dropped something, you dropped something, or I’m going to drop/throw something.

·         “Da-da, Dah-dah” – greeting for DaddyN or Daddy-O consistently, mom occasionally, and used occasionally in a question tone when dad is not evident (but sounds are heard in the other room), or when dad leaves the room.

·         “Ah-dah” – All done or all gone, in the same sing song tones we use – flip or move hands like we do to show all done

·         “Kkkkk, kah!, kkkkttt,” – Kitty, primarily the stripey cat, but also the back cat or other kitties at other places. But not kitties in photos, interestingly.

·         “UT!” or “UH!” in a commanding tone, generally along with raised arms, means Up – as in “pick me up” or Up – as in “get up and move around please” (while we are holding her) or OUT – as in “I want out of this place” (this is usually accompanied by a gesture in the direction she wants to go).

·         “HAH-eee” or “Heh-woah” – used as a general greeting, especially when playing with a cell phone

·         “Meh, Meh-meh, mah, mah-mah” – used infrequently/inconsistently for “I want mom”

·        “bath hand sign” – used in response to our use at bath time – she is making the gesture in imitation – but clearly knows it means bath.

·         Lots of pointing and then strings of sounds – no idea what she is saying, but clearly she is trying to communicate.

·         Dancing – often with hand gestures – when music is played. She does this while standing, sitting, or in your arms.  Music clearly means “wiggle!”

·         Poking – She has started poking things with one finger, including buttons, and people.  Biting and pinching are still used to get attention – but we’re working on that.

·      “SCREAAAAAAM/Howl” – in the last month WCB has found her opinions.  She wants THIS thing and NO she does not want to give it up. OR She wants MOM and no one else will do.  She has done more crying in the last month than in the previous three.  We are all three having to harden our armor…. 😦

·      “Nah, Nahp” – She has just started “refusing” with a single sideways shake of her head and this sound.  usually when eating, but sometimes when a toothbrush is offered, or a comb/brush.  We know she knows what NO means, but it looks like we are going to start hearing “No” said to us frequently and emphatically quite soon!


Along with the above –  LOTS of imitation showing up – just this morning she pulled a box partially off the shelf, got out the toy she wanted and pushed the box back in. Previously she would simply have torn the box off shelf and just dumped it.  When she opened her brush and comb present, I brushed her hair to show her what it was. Handed the brush, she immediately brushed her own hair with it!  We’ve also caught her “comparing.”  She got a large bouncy ball for her birthday – and spent quite a bit of time bouncing first it, then other smaller, non-bouncy balls in her room – bounce, no bounce, bounce, no bounce, etc.  She is simply SO fascinating to watch learn!

 Looking at pictures of the “baloney loaf with eyes” from one year ago – it is unbeleivable that this is the same being!  UP the parenting roller coaster hill we go!!!!